This week we had a surprise visit from singer Meghan Trainor who toured Mystic Aquarium with Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Andy Wood, enjoying unique experiences with the help of the training staff. Andy is now a hero with his teenage daughter!
On Thursday evening, we welcomed another new visitor, Mystic Aquarium’s first manatee! The animal was rescued from the waters of Cape Cod Bay by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and transferred to our Aquatic Animal Study Center for care and staging.
The manatee is a female weighing just over 800 lbs. She is in relatively stable condition and transported well. She seems to have acclimated well to the pools and is eating the lettuce we’ve provided. She will remain in our care for approximately 1-2 weeks until she is deemed stable enough for transport and then will be flown back to Florida.
Mystic Aquarium announced a series of commitments last week as part of the United States Department of State global oceans conference, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. I had the privilege of attending the conference and to witness President Barack Obama’s announcement of the designation of the New England Corals and Canyons as a Marine National Monument. Once again, congratulations to Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, Katie Cubina, and Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Auster for their outstanding leadership on securing the designation.
The commitments represent Mystic Aquarium’s planned contributions towards meaningful ocean conservation issues. They are drawn from and further articulate our goals articulated in “One Ocean, One Mission” our strategic plan.
1. We pledge to respond to, rescue, rehabilitate and/or release 300 marine mammals over the next 5 years.
2. We pledge to develop and implement youth conservation programs in 125 high-need communities throughout the United States by 2020.
3. We pledge to invest $2.5 million over the next 5 years to conduct research related to conserving marine ecosystems.
4. We pledge to develop regional ocean planning tools and approaches for managers and policy makers to better balance economic needs with the conservation of biological diversity.
5. We pledge to advance the understanding of the role that marine protected areas play in conservation.
6. We pledge to commit financial and human resources to ensure the survival of African penguins.
7. We pledge to develop future ocean conservation professionals by hosting at least 500 internships over the next 5 years.
8. We pledge to educate at least 550,000 students in activities focused on ocean conservation over the next 5 years.
9. We pledge to engage 3,250 people in environmental stewardship through citizen science programs over the next 5 years.
10. We pledge to conduct research on shallow and deep water coral reef ecosystems to inform ocean and climate policy.
Finally, as I write this, we are anticipating a very successful Ocean Commotion gala on Saturday evening. I expect to be able to report that we had great weather, a wonderful turnout and I am very certain that we will be announcing some wonderful news, including record-setting fund raising for Mystic Aquarium!
Stephen M. Coan, PhD