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At New York Aquarium, Staff Considers Evacuating Fish

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Inside the New York Aquarium, fish tanks and exhibits are now surrounded by floodwater and sand from Sandy’s surge.

The aquarium, located just off the famous boardwalk of Coney Island in Brooklyn, is home to sand tiger sharks, sea otters and a new baby walrus — and for days it was without power.

A dedicated staff now remains at the battered facility to monitor the tanks and provide food and water to the animals. The aquarium said it has generators that restored power to three-quarters of its exhibits by Friday evening.

“Our walruses, sea lions, seals, sea otters, sea turtles and sharks are all fine,” said Jim Breheny, executive vice president of New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium.  “We did have some losses in the fish collection, most of which were confined to one exhibit tank that we could not access immediately after the storm hit.  The rest of our exhibit and holding tanks and the fish that are housed there are all doing well.”

Still, Breheny said, the society would ask other aquariums in the area to remain on standby through the weekend in case animals have to be evacuated.

If they did, it could be a complicated effort.

John Hewitt, senior vice president of the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, told ABC News Friday that specialized cages would be needed and that a single shark required a 12,000-gallon fish tank.

He moved dozens of animals from New Orleans’ aquarium after Hurricane Katrina.

“You need veterinary expertise,” he said. “These animals are highly specialized. [It's] very demanding from an animal health standpoint.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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