MYSTIC, CT - Mystic Aquarium, a unit of Sea Research Foundation, has received a $250,000 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation to support construction of The Ocean Research and Conservation Center, a state-of-the-art veterinary and animal health center, as it expands its research mandate.
The grant will help consolidate the Aquarium’s veterinary care, research and water quality functions under one roof, advancing Sea Research Foundation’s capacity to care for and manage its animal collection and contribute to research efforts both within zoos and aquariums and in the wild.
“We are immensely grateful to the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, for this important donation toward the future of our research and animal care operations,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president of Sea Research Foundation. “As we have grown to have a world-wide impact on ocean and marine animal conservation, our efforts will be enhanced by bringing together our scientific and veterinary functions under one roof to support each other and share and advance their mutual goals of studying and protecting aquatic wildlife.”
Marsha Sterling, Chairperson of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, with assets of more than $20 million, said, “The Wiederhold Foundation, dedicated to animal welfare, recognizes the outstanding work done by Mystic Aquarium and Sea Research Foundation on behalf of marine animals. We are thrilled to be able to support their efforts and help them grow their extremely important research and care-giving functions.”
Mystic Aquarium has a diverse living collection that numbers over 4,000 animals comprised of fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, sharks, rays, birds, and marine mammals. The collection also includes key species that are threatened or endangered, including beluga whales, Stellar sea lions, fur seals, and African penguins.
The aquarium is also involved in protecting the population of African penguins in South Africa, belugas off the North Slope of Alaska, and annually responds to more than 100 marine mammal strandings throughout the northeastern United States.
The Ocean Research and Conservation Center project has two principal activities: (1) renovation of the existing Aquatic Animal Study Center and (2) construction of a new building that will physically attach to the Aquatic Animal Study Center. The result will be a nearly 9,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility that houses animal care, water quality, and research operations, all of which are integral to promoting optimal marine animal care and health practices, in both aquarium and zoo settings and in the wild
Sea Research will name the veterinary portion of the building in honor of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, a wonderful and lasting tribute to the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Wiederhold and their commitment to animal welfare.