By now everyone has seen the stunning images and reports coming out of Japan and our hearts and thoughts go out to the people affected by this tragedy.

There are over 100 aquariums in Japan, several in the northern region located close to the epicenter of the earthquake and tsunami. We have been in contact with many of our Japanese aquarium colleagues, including our sister aquariums; Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, and Notojima Aquarium. Thankfully a majority of them are fine. However, some of the aquariums in the north have experienced severe damage. Several of the aquariums that have been damaged or are in the radioactive bubble have already relocated staff and animals to other Japanese aquariums.

Immediately following the disaster, Shedd Aquarium quickly offered our assistance directly to our Japanese aquarium colleagues, as well as to Japanese government officials, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) here in the United States. All are extremely appreciative of our offer and we remain in constant communication as relief plans are developed and implemented.

Shedd Aquarium is ready and willing to assist our Japanese colleagues and if called upon, we may need your support. However, until we receive the call, if you would like to help, WAZA is currently organizing emergency fundraising to assist institutions hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami. To make a donation please click the donate to Japan button on the WAZA homepage (www.WAZA.org).

Please continue to check back for regular updates about Shedd's continued efforts in helping our Japanese colleagues and the animals they care for.

Thank you,

Ken Ramirez