Belfast Telegraph

Exploris aquarium campaign goes global

By LINDA STEWART

The call went out when the news broke that Exploris was to close – and they responded in their droves.

Almost 250 people across the globe have posted pictures of themselves posing with a 'Save Exploris' sign in a bid to earn a reprieve for Northern Ireland's only aquarium.

Sean Clifford, who has organised the photo campaign, said photos had flooded in from as far afield as Honduras, Sweden, Australia, Afghanistan, Peru and Japan urging Stormont to step in to save the doomed marine conservation facility.

"When I heard the news that Exploris was going to be closed I couldn't believe it," he said. "Once I explained what Exploris is and the benefits for the local community, everyone I asked took a picture for me, and then I started getting pictures from more and more people."

The furthest a photo has travelled is from Tahiti, and every continent except for Antarctica is represented.

Marine biologist Sean has spent the last few years with a turtle conservation project in Costa Rica, but before that he worked at Exploris.

"People can't believe that Northern Ireland would let its only aquarium just slip away and feel the decision by Ards Borough Council to close the site is very short-sighted," he said.

Almost 30,000 people have 'liked' the Facebook Save Exploris page since Ards councillors voted to close it over concerns that it was continuing to run at a significant deficit.

It has now earned a temporary reprieve as they search for alternative sources of finance, but Sean suggested that simply marketing it would make a huge difference. Exploris hasn't had a marketing officer since 2007.

Campaign to save Northern Ireland's only aquarium goes global as Twitter users snap 

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