With lots of our GGT friends and family (including Mary’s dad) in the New York and New Jersey areas, we got plenty of first-hand information on the insane level of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. What we didn’t realize until this weekend, when we received an email from our friends at the Wildlife Conservation Society, was that humans were far from the only species impacted by the natural disaster.
The financial toll Sandy took on the northeast will take a long time to fully quantify, but the obscene numbers are starting to roll in. The Society’s New York Aquarium was hit especially hard by the storm, according to a statement issued by Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium. The beloved seaside venue suffered serious flood damage and structural damage and will be closed indefinitely.
If it weren’t for the courageous, around-the-clock efforts of 18 Aquarium staffers, the news could’ve been much worse at the popular 14-acre attraction. Like most everything else in the Coney Island area of south Brooklyn, the New York Aquarium facility was overrun by ocean waters. In addition to the fish, the aquarium houses a host of other animals, including sharks, turtles, sea lions, otters and an adorable orphaned walrus named Mitik.
“Staff have established temporary life support for the aquatic systems, are pumping flood waters out of basements and mechanical areas, and are working to restore filtration and other life support essentials for the exhibit and holding tanks,” the non-profit organization said in a WCS press release. “We have a short window of time to get these systems re-established. If this cannot be accomplished in this critical period, we will temporarily relocate the collection to other AZA aquariums in the region.”
Getting excess saltwater pumped from inside the building and restoring power was essential to the creatures’ survival. But the 55-year-old tourist attraction still has a lot of work left to do. In fact, New York Aquarium officials say it’ll be months before the facility is back up and running. To counter the costs it’ll take to rebuild the aquarium, please join GGT in making a tax-deductible donation to the recovery efforts here. –DeMarco Williams; photos provided by New York Aquarium
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