Wildlife Conservation Society Statement on the WCS New York Aquarium

Nov. 1, 2012

CONTACT: MARY DIXON, 347-840-1242, mdixon@wcs.org

A statement issued by Jim Breheny, Executive Vice President of WCS Zoos and Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo:

Using generator power, we are making progress restoring life support systems to our aquatic exhibits throughout the WCS New York Aquarium. We have restored power to two of our main exhibit buildings -- Glover's Reef and Conservation Hall. However, we still have areas that we have not been able to fully assess as to when we can get them back on line. We are facing a critical period when we will have to decide if we are going to move some of our animals. We are still working around the clock to accomplish what we need to do. We continue to pump water out of the areas which house crucial operating systems.

As reported yesterday, if we cannot be reasonably certain that we can get systems operational within the time limits we have set, we are prepared to temporarily relocate some of our animals to other AZA aquariums in our region. This decision would likely be made in the next 24 hours.

Mitik, the orphaned rescue walrus, weathered the storm without incident and seemed interested and amused by all the activity around him. Our adult walruses, sharks, penguins, sea turtles, and sea lions all did well in the storm. Our fish collection is also doing well as we have been able to maintain temporary life support on our tanks and exhibits since we lost power when the storm hit. This was made possible by the extraordinary effort put forth by the team of professionals we have at the New York Aquarium, led by its Director, Jon Dohlin. Our veterinarians have been working with the animal care staff to ensure the health and well-being of all our animals.

Over the past several days, many zoos and aquariums, local officials, and individuals have offered encouragement and support. In this challenging time, we are grateful to all for reaching out. In the days to come, we will keep you posted on the status of our animals and the restoration of our operating systems. Once the situation for our animals has been stabilized and resolved, we will continue with the detailed assessment needed to determine when the aquarium will reopen. We look forward to working with our supporters and local officials.

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