JENKS, Okla. — On June 30, the Oklahoma Aquarium was awarded an American Rescue Plan (ARPA) grant for endangered species care during the pandemic.
The ARPA grant amount is $183,263 and was awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to reimburse care expenses for endangered sea turtles housed at the Oklahoma Aquarium.
Aquarium Director of Development and Research Dr. Ann Money said, “As with all zoos and aquariums, Covid-19 hit us hard. Our dedicated team came in every day to care for our endangered sea turtles and 10,000 other animals. During the financial hardship resulting from the pandemic, the Jenks Aquarium Authority retained the entire staff at full pay. Our team provided and continues to provide the best care for our animals and the ARPA funding helps us provide that care.”
The aquarium is the only Oklahoma organization receiving a share of this funding and is one of only 44 facilities nationwide awarded a grant through this program.
“The animal care stories we have learned through the application process are extraordinary, as are the costs associated with that care. We continue to be grateful to partner with the Service to distribute the funds. The relief this program is providing to facilities that care for federally protected species is necessary and needed,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA.
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