Vancouver Aquarium, at risk of permanently closing, raises $600K in donations

The pandemic shuttered the doors of the tourist attraction and conservation organization in March

The Vancouver Aquarium, which has been facing the risk of permanently shutting down, says it has received more than $600,000 in donations since going public about its financial situation due to COVID-19.

Last week, the aquarium announced it needed to secure $1 million to maintain animal care costs for the next month.

Since then, donations totalling $620,000 have poured in from 31 countries, including Finland, the Phillippines and Slovakia.

WATCH: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

The average donation amount has been roughly $74 with the largest being $5,000, according to the aquarium.

Lasse Gustavsson, CEO of Ocean Wise, offered thanks in a statement issued on Thursday.

“The outpouring of donations, emails, support and encouragement from the general public has been just incredible,” the CEO said. “We are so grateful.”

The Vancouver Aquarium is a not-for-profit which also funds the Ocean Wise Conservation Association – the group known for rescuing injured marine mammals when found in nearby waters.

WATCH: Northern fur seal pup rescued near B.C. fish farm

The tourist attraction was forced to close its doors to the public on March 17, following provincial health orders, causing a substantial loss in revenue, the aquarium said. Roughly 60 per cent of staff have been laid off, hours have been reduced where it won’t hinder animal care and suspending building maintenance.

Travel for field research and conservation efforts in the Arctic have also been cut. The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has also had to suspend its rescue operations.

The organization has had productive talks with the provincial government, Gustavsson said, but did not confirm if any funding would be approved.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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