Mystic Aquarium Receives $2 Million Federal Grant to Bolster Endangered Species Conservation Efforts

Celebrating its 50th anniversary alongside the landmark 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, Mystic Aquarium has announced a substantial $2-million federal appropriation award. This funding injection aims to amplify the Aquarium’s ongoing endeavors to safeguard threatened and endangered species, including African penguins, sea turtles, North Atlantic right whales, walruses, and endangered beluga whale populations.

Expressing gratitude for the significant grant, Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President for Mission Programs at Mystic Aquarium, emphasized the institution’s dedication to species preservation and environmental protection. She underscored the critical nature of the biodiversity crisis facing the global community and thanked the supporting legislators, including Senators Murphy and Blumenthal, and Representatives Courtney and DeLauro.

Under the guidance of Chief Scientist and VP of Research, Dr. Tracy Romano, Mystic Aquarium’s research program is committed to conserving marine ecosystems and wildlife. The team pioneers innovative, non-invasive methods for assessing aquatic animal health, crucial in the face of mounting environmental threats.

Highlighting the plight of African penguins, whose populations have dwindled drastically, the Aquarium’s research team recently achieved a breakthrough with a non-invasive “poop profile” technique. This innovative approach, analyzing penguin feces, provides invaluable insights into diet, immune health, and reproductive status without direct handling, aiding conservation efforts.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a staunch supporter of Mystic Aquarium’s conservation initiatives, applauded the $2 million investment, stressing the urgent need to protect endangered species like African penguins.

Building on its longstanding collaboration with The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in South Africa, Mystic Aquarium’s animal care, research, and education teams will extend their efforts to aid orphaned penguin chicks and address oil spill disasters. Additionally, the grant will facilitate campus updates, enhancing visitor education and engagement on endangered species conservation.

Partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW), Mystic Aquarium is poised to further its mission of preserving wildlife and ecosystems. Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, recently visited the Aquarium, reinforcing the shared commitment to sustainability and inclusivity.

Katie Cubina reiterated the Aquarium’s enthusiasm for collaborative efforts to combat extinction threats faced by African penguins, sea turtles, and whales, emphasizing the institution’s role as a global conservation leader.




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