A fundraising effort to help save endangered beluga whales raised $3.4 million for Mystic Aquarium. The money will be used not only to fund the highly individualized, world-class care provided to the seven belugas at the aquarium, but also the urgently needed conservation research initiative that has the potential to save endangered populations of belugas and other whales that are disappearing from the wild.
More than 200 attendees and online bidders from around the world participated in a live auction at the aquarium Thursday evening, which included the auctioning off naming rights for the aquarium's newly arrived belugas.
"The Mystic Aquarium community is overwhelmed by the generosity from the many supporters who came out to help advance our mission to provide the best possible life for our beluga whales and preserve endangered populations. We extend our deepest thanks to the many donors who came forward and made major financial contributions to ensure we can continue this vital research," said Dr. Steve Coan, president and CEO of the Mystic Aquarium.
Former NFL New England Patriot stars Andre Tippett and Steven DeOssie assisted Guernsey's Auction House in leading guests and online bidders through a diverse selection of unique items.
A live musical performance from the Legendary Wailers served as a musical backdrop for the evening.
The cost of caring for Mystic Aquarium's beluga whales is in the multiple millions of dollars annually, including approximately $250,000 in food and veterinary care for each animal. There are also significant costs associated with running and maintaining the Arctic Coast habitat, the beluga's 750,000-gallon outdoor residence that is the largest of its kind in North America and is specifically designed to optimize access to the whales for both care and research.
The aquarium currently has seven belugas, including the new arrivals who were brought to Mystic Aquarium in May from Canada.
Photos from the event are available at: https://mysticaquarium.smugmug.com/Beluga-Naming-Auction/n-ct7MDM/
Video is available upon request.
ABOUT MYSTIC AQUARIUM
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is one of the world's leading aquariums, offering exemplary care to a variety of species while also serving as the northeast's premier marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center. Robust conservation and education programming and unparalleled visitor experiences strengthen personal connections to the animals and their environments. Mystic Aquarium's mission is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education, and research, and introduces approximately 800,000 guests annually to thousands of animals through structured interpretations, especially curated exhibits, and hands-on interactions. As a leading research organization, Mystic Aquarium employs a full staff of scientists engaged in projects focused on ocean planet's conservation and sustainability.
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