Posts Tagged 'animal rescue'



Animal Rescue Update: Turtle Season Is In Full Swing

national aquarium Animal Rescue Update

Cold-stun season for sea turtles is in full swing in the Northeast. Our stranding partners in Massachusetts and New Jersey have already seen an influx of admittance due to the rapid drop in water temperatures in our region.

Over the last week, our team has admitted 12 turtles for rehabilitation. We received 8 Kemp’s ridley turtles from New England Aquarium, 2 Kemp’s ridleys and 1 green sea turtle from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and 1 green sea turtle that stranded off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland.

Meet some of the new crew (named for various Top Gun characters!): 

These turtles are suffering from a range of ailments, including: pneumonia, joint infections, gastrointestinal irregularity, lacerations and abrasions. Each turtle is being treated with antibiotics, supplements and fluids. We’re happy to report that most of our patients are eating on their own!

As you can imagine, our team has been very busy caring for our current turtle patients and preparing for the possibility of receiving more turtles in the very near future. Stay tuned for more updates!


National Aquarium Animal Rescue team helps countless animals in need every year! Here’s how YOU can help support our efforts this holiday season! 

Animal Rescue Expert

Giving Tuesday: Together, We Can Make a Difference

What comes after Black Friday and Cyber Monday?  Giving Tuesdaya day dedicated to supporting your favorite nonprofit organizations!

National Aquarium is a nonprofit organization with one mission: to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. In addition to giving visitors from around the world the opportunity to get up close and personal with more than 17,000 animals, we live our mission everyday through animal rescue, conservation and education.

Our impact last year, by the numbers:

  • We welcomed over 1.3 million visitors
  • Our volunteers contributed 119,648 service hours
  • Our conservation team planted 146,273 native plants and
    restored 7.9 acres of local habitat
  • Our animal rescue team cared for 28 animals (Including a green sea turtle that became the program’s 100th release!)
  • Our education programs reached 131,838 people

Everyday we are:

  • Providing over 17,000 animals the highest quality of care around
  • Monitoring 4,360 miles of coastline for stranded/injured animals
  • Finding new ways to reduce our impact on the environment!

This Giving Tuesday, we hope you’ll support the National Aquarium and our mission!

Week of Thanks: Jenn Dittmar on Rescue Partners!

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, our experts (and animal residents) will be sharing what they’re thankful for this year!

Our third “Week of Thanks” post comes from the Aquarium’s Manager of Animal Rescue, Jenn Dittmar

This year, I am most thankful for the collaborative relationships that allow us to respond to marine animals in need, and properly rehabilitate and release them! Our team is grateful to be part of a network of stranding response and rehabilitation facilities – which jointly cover the Northeast Atlantic coast – that work together to accomplish a common goal. This effort could not be more evident in the last year, as many of the animals we have responded to and rehabilitated were part of a larger group effort. It really does take a village!

Together, our network has been able to accomplish some amazing things this year! Here are just a few highlights:

In December of 2012, our friends at New England Aquarium were facing a severe cold-stun season for sea turtles. They reached out to us for help, and we answered by admitting 3 green sea turtles, 3 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, and 7 loggerheads. This same friendship came into play in January of 2013, when we partnered together to transport 32 sea turtles to Jacksonville, Florida. The trip was long and tiring, but in the end, nothing will ever replace the gratification of sending healthy turtles back into the wild. It was such a memorable trip, we turned around and made the same trek, just 3 months later! This time, we transported and released a record breaking 52 sea turtles, which included turtles from 8 sea turtle rehabilitation facilities from New York to South Carolina.

seaturtletrek release national aquarium new england aquarium

After caring for a higher-than-normal influx of patients in 2012, our team was able to celebrate a huge milestone – the release of our 100th animal! We were excited to share this special day with our partners over at the National Marine Life Center!

national aquarium 100th release

Number 100 looking healthy and ready to journey back into the ocean!

All of this brings us to our current cold-stun sea turtle season. Due to a rapid drop in water temperature, our partners to the north have already seen an influx of sea turtle strandings. Last week, we shared that our team has admitted Maverick and Iceman, two Kemp’s ridleys that stranded along New Jersey, rescued by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. We have also just admitted a cold-stunned green sea turtle from Ocean City, Maryland yesterday, who was found and rescued by the US Coast Guard Station AND an additional 8 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridleys from the New England Aquarium that arrived late last night. All 10 of the Kemp’s are stable and eating, but will remain in rehab for several months.

national aquarium animal rescue

I am very thankful for the opportunity to be part of a truly amazing network of organizations, staff, and volunteers that support stranding response and the rehabilitation of these incredible animals!

Animal Rescue Update: Turtle Nest Excavated at Assateague

national aquarium Animal Rescue Update

National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff recently joined the National Park Service (NPS) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) to excavate a loggerhead sea turtle nest at Assateague Island National Seashore.

loggerhead nest

The nest during excavation (photo courtesy of National Park Service).

The nest, laid on July 1, 2013, has been monitored by NPS staff for the past three months. While the typical incubation period for sea turtle nests south of North Carolina is approximately 60 to 70 days, northern sea turtle nests, such as those laid in Virginia, Maryland and even Delaware, are known to incubate for a longer period of time due to typically cooler temperatures.

After 110 days, this nest had not hatched and an excavation was planned for Friday, October 18. Excavation of nests is a standard practice to determine hatchling success and stage of development. During the excavation, the team collected detailed data such as depth and dimensions, temperature, as well as number of eggs in the nest.

temp reading in loggerhead nest

The excavation team taking a temperature reading (photo courtesy of National Park Service).

It was determined during the excavation that the turtles had not yet hatched, and there was still a possibility that the nest was viable. The eggs were carefully transferred to a transport container and brought back to our Animal Care Center for incubation.

loggerhead egg transport

Our Animal Rescue staff carefully placing the loggerhead eggs in a transport carrier (photo courtesy of National Park Service).

Our team is working closely with the Aquarium’s senior herpetologists to carefully incubate and monitor the nest. We are slowly warming the nest in a temperature controlled, humid environment and should have the nest warmed to an ideal temperature within a week. Sea turtles are reptiles and are therefore sensitive to temperature changes, so the process must be done very slowly. While we have seen signs of a potentially viable nest, we are cautiously optimistic about the total number of live hatchlings that might emerge.

As you may recall, we experienced the first confirmed successful sea turtle nest in Maryland last year. Our team was ecstatic to hear that the lone surviving hatchling from that nest was released off the coast of North Carolina back in April!

This nest represents a larger joint initiative with our partners at NPS and MD DNR to plan for and respond to these events.

Stay tuned for more updates on the nest! 

Blog-Header-JennDittmar

Animal Rescue Update: Rooney and Portsmouth Released!

Blog-Header-AnimalExpertUpd

As you may have recently read, our Animal Rescue team was set to release our last two turtles in rehabilitation, loggerheads Rooney and Portsmouth!

Yesterday, we packed up the trusty truck with supplies and our two sea turtles, and headed to the warmer southern shore waters of Virginia Beach. Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding team was set to release two loggerhead sea turtles of their own, so we asked if they wouldn’t mind our team joining them for a few days.

At 1pm, at Sandbridge, Virginia, the four loggerheads were met with a crowd of over 300 people who came to bid them well wishes and safe travels as they head back into their natural environment!

Each turtle was accompanied by a satellite tag and an acoustic tag for tracking purposes and research opportunities. Soon, you’ll be able to follow their travels on our website as we track their adventure and navigation through the open ocean!

Join me in wishing Rooney and Portsmouth the best of luck out there! 

national aquarium animal rescue expert


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