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New York Aquarium loses power — may lose its sealife

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Brooklyn’s aquatic inhabitants may need to find a new home if power isn’t restored soon at the New York Aquarium.

The Coney Island fish haven suffered “extensive damage” due a surge of flood waters that broke over the Boardwalk during Hurricane Sandy — and if utilities aren’t brought back online soon the borough’s undersea animals must be evacuated.

“We have a short window of time to get these systems re-established,” said Jim Breheny, Executive Vice President of the World Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium. “If this cannot be accomplished in this critical period, we will temporarily relocate the collection to other … aquariums in the region.”

Eighteen staff members stayed overnight during the storm to watch after the aquarium’s maritime menagerie, which includes a giant Pacific walrus and Mitik — a new baby walrus who just arrived from Alaska.

Breheny said many of the museum’s creatures were surviving thanks to temporary life support.

The museum was hit hard during the peak hours of Hurricane Sandy — and all of the 14-acre property was at one point under water, according to the Associated Press.

Aquarium personnel said officials are working to assess the damage from the flooding. “I personally will be returning to the Aquarium for the first time today to salvage what I can from my own office that was also under several feet of water,” said Breheny.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

Updated 1:46 pm, November 5, 2012: Story originally attributed quotes to Nicole Etienne. We regret the error.
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