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The mermaid is a mythical creature known as half woman/half fish. is present in Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania as an "unlockable" animal.
How to get the mermaid
First you must be able to buy a Mermaid statue, which costs $2,000.
Place the mermaid statue in a tank filled with water.
The statue will now transform into a mermaid.
Due to not being a truly real adoptable animal, it is possible to continue purchasing Mermaids by placing the statue in a water filled tank even if you have been prohibited from adopting animals by the National Organization of Zoos if they receive numerous complaints about the living conditions of the animals in your zoo.
Mermaids live in salt water, they can't live in fresh water because it makes them ill, for unknown reasons. Mermaids have no preference for foliage, as long as it is aquatic foliage. Mermaids need a shelter in their exhibit, the best shelter to use is the Sunken ship, because mermaids dislike other shelters. They can coexist with most aquatic animals.
Since mermaid statues are only able to transform into female mermaids, it is not possible to get male ones without mods or hacking the game. Male mermaids do use the same sprite as female mermaids, as it was never programmed to be able to have male mermaids. The same applies to child mermaids.
The design of the mermaid is probably modeled after Ariel, who is the little mermaid in Disney's version of Hans Christian Anderson's story.