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UPDATE February 9: we have nearly reached our initial $800 goal in one day (Awesome!!! Thanks so much to all of you!!!), so we are upping our sights a bit. Again, all money raised will ONLY go to fund Rufus' move and maintain his habitat, care and upkeep. :)
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For 46 years (37 in their Rosemead location), Bahooka Restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley was a festive Angeleno favorite... a Polynesian paradise filled with 105 built-in aquariums. And at the center of that paradise was beloved Rufus, a giant fish in his 30s who never met a carrot he didn't like. After decades of being surrounded by human friends, Rufus' job as a greeter ended when Bahooka closed in March of 2013.
Sadly, since that time Rufus has been swimming alone in the dark and the new owners (I believe the property has changed hands twice now) don't want a giant fish tank on the property any longer. Our goal is to give Rufus his livelihood back, and to relocate him to a place that he will once again be greeted and loved by his human friends.
Finding a home for giant 37 year old Rufus isn't as easy as you might think... he's a bit of a special needs child. Since Rufus is a pacu -- an omnivorous South American freshwater fish that's related to piranha -- he has to live in an isolated tank by himself or with other pacu. (Interesting factoid: a key difference between a pacu and a piranha is that piranha have sharp teeth, while pacu have squarer, straighter teeth, like a human... which is why he is able to eat carrots!) Most local aquariums focus on salt water and most restaurants don't have the space for him but we've got three potential candidates who are interested (two tiki themed restaurants and one major aquarium).
This fund will come into play as soon as we have a final approval on a final location that seems right for Rufus. This money will NOT go to Hidden Los Angeles. We are solely raising money to pay for Rufus and his tank, to help with his moving costs and any added expenses, as well as hopefully help with some of his future upkeep costs. We don't want Rufus' new owners to be burdened with costs or stress for taking him on, we want it to be a great and easy experience. Rufus just needs to find a great home and swim in the light again.
Thanks to everyone for caring! :)
Side note: For those who have offered to take Rufus into your homes, everyone sincerely appreciates your generosity more than you know. Our primary goal has been to find an environment for Rufus that is as close to his life at Bahooka as we can though, so we're looking for a place where he'll surrounded by visitors who appreciate him.