Posts Tagged 'marine animal rescue program'



MARP Update: Baby Loggerhead Turtle Doing Well!

national aquarium animal rescue loggerhead hatchling

Remember this little guy? We’re happy to report that the loggerhead hatchling we transported to North Carolina Aquarium is doing well!

Just days before Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in October of 2012, our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team rescued and began caring for a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling found on Assateague Island National Seashore.

baby loggerhead turtle

Baby loggerhead turtle hatchling and egg.

Sadly the sole survivor from the nest, our MARP team cared for the hatchling until it was strong enough to be transported to North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for further care and release!

We’re thrilled to report that the young loggerhead is doing well and has grown a significant amount since his initial rescue! While he’s is still considered a bit small for his age class, the turtle is eating a good amount and diving well!

The wonderful team over at North Carolina Aquarium is hoping to release the loggerhead back into the ocean soon.

Stay tuned for updates on his release!  

MARP Update: We Are Currently Rehabilitating a Harbor Seal

UPDATE: March 25, 2013

In an effort to keep our seal patient’s mind stimulated and encourage natural behaviors, our Marine Animal Rescue team provides daily environmental enrichment.

For today’s enrichment, our team decided to take advantage of the snow and bring it indoors. They filled the deck with clean snow and hid fish in the snow for the seal to find – kind of like a game of hide and seek! He was eager to eat breakfast!

snow seal enrichment

 

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UPDATE: March 6, 2013

We’re happy to report that our harbor seal patient is doing very well! He is still being treated by veterinarians and husbandry staff for abrasions and a severe upper-respiratory infection. Since first arriving at our Animal Care Center, we’ve also been able to successfully increase the his diet to 5 ½ pounds of fish per day. We hope to continue to increase the seal’s diet, so that he can gain a little more weight!

Our next steps of treatment include another round of medications to ensure his system is free of infections and parasites. Once he is given a “clean bill of health,” our staff will begin discussing release options!

Stay tuned for more updates on our patient! 

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Our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team is currently caring for a juvenile harbor seal found off the coast of Delaware.

After being spotted and closely observed by our local stranding partner, MERR Institute, it was determined that the seal was in need of immediate care and rehabilitation.

Our harbor seal patient resting near its rehab. pool.

Our harbor seal patient resting near its rehab. pool.

Upon arrival at our Animal Care Center, Aquarium husbandry staff and veterinarians  performed a thorough exam, collected blood samples and began treating the seal for dehydration.

Initially too ill to eat solid foods, our seal patient was been fed a fish-based “smoothie.” We’re happy to report that the seal has now moved onto solid foods (its diet currently consists of capelin and herring fish)!

Staff is hoping that our patient will gain some weight and keep up a healthy appetite.

Staff is hoping that our patient will gain some weight and keep up a healthy appetite.

In addition to dehydration, we are currently treating the seal for pneumonia, parasites and a respiratory infection.

Stay tuned for more updates on our patient! 

A Blue View: Seal Season

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

February 13, 2013: Seal Season

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John discuss the upcoming seal season and how to spot seals in need of medical assistance.

Seal sightings are rare for even the most frequent beach-goers to the Mid-Atlantic shore. In a typical year, about 20 are spotted in Ocean City, Maryland. Because seals prefer a cold-water environment, they tend to visit our area as they travel south from subarctic regions in the winter months and return north during summer months. Healthy seals regularly rest on land in a behavior called “hauling out.”

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

If you’re lucky, harp, gray, hooded, and harbor seals can be spotted on our beaches from late winter through spring.These four seal species are semi-aquatic, meaning they can survive for lengths of time both in water and on land. When seals are spotted on land, they are usually resting after long swims or warming up in the sunlight. Seals will also haul out on stormy days to wait out the rough seas.

Because seal sightings are rare, people often assume that a seal on land is injured or sick. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way to determine if an animal is healthy. The key is to observe the animal’s posture. When a seal is lying in a “banana-shaped” position with its head and body curved and facing upright, the animal is simply resting and will more than likely return to the water when it’s ready. Enjoy the sight from a distance, though, as seals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is illegal to disturb them.

This is a "normal" banana position.

A seal lying in the normal, “banana-shaped” position.

If a seal is lying in a “bear rug” position, however, with its stomach and head on the ground, the animal is in need of further monitoring and, potentially, rehabilitation. In those cases, contact local authorities or animal control. It’s important to remember never to approach a seal that looks like it may be in distress. Even though your intentions may be good, the animal will be under an enormous amount of stress. The animal may flee, even if injured, decreasing the chances that a rescue team will be able to help it.

sick seal
If you see a seal on the beach, give the animal lots of space, at least 150 feet, and avoid loud or sudden noises. Stay downwind from the seal if possible. Keep pets on leashes, and if you have to walk around a seal, walk on the land side to avoid blocking its path to the water. And never offer food to a seal—it’s not only bad for the seal, but it’s illegal and could result in a large fine. Disturbing the seal by making it change locations or flee back into the water is against the law.

The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works with local authorities and a network of animal rescue and response organizations along the East Coast to respond to reports of seals on beaches and animals that appear to be in trouble.

Our team of first responders is specially trained to evaluate an animal’s health and behaviors. They are looking for any signs of injury such as entanglement, sores or abrasions, open wounds, bleeding, cataracts, dehydration, or emaciation. The team will determine the appropriate intervention for the animal, and may bring the seal back to our Animal Care Center for rehabilitation and later release.

If you see a seal that may be in need of medical attention, please call the National Aquarium’s Stranding Hotline 410-373-0083 or Maryland’s Natural Resources Police 1-800-628-9944. In a real emergency, you can simply call the local police or beach patrol, and they’ll contact the proper authorities.

 

Visit Charm City Run THIS Saturday and Support MARP!

Need some new kicks to wear to our next conservation event? What about new running accessories so you can hit the city streets and running trails in style?

Visit our friends at Charm City Run in Locust Point THIS Saturday, February 16! Charm City Run is donating 10 percent of all proceeds from that day to our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP).

Deirdre feeding MARP turtles
Deirdre Weadock of Charm City Run visited our Animal Care Center last week to help care for our current turtle patients. This was not Deirdre’s first visit to the Animal Care Center; from 2005 to 2011, she was a senior dolphin trainer at the Aquarium!

Since 1991, MARP has rescued, treated, and released nearly 100 animals to their natural habitats, including seals, sea turtles, dolphins, a harbor porpoise, a pygmy sperm whale, and a manatee.

At National Aquarium, sea turtles are the most common patients in our Animal Care Center. All sea turtles in U.S. waters are listed as endangered species, and often face dangers such as cold stunning and injury from boat propellers. The turtles currently being rehabilitated by staff came from New England and are being treated for cold-stunning and pneumonia.

green sea turtle

2012 was a historic year for sea turtle rescue along the Northeast coast. Typically, the New England Aquarium rescues 25 to 60 sea turtles per year; however, last year that number grew to more than 200 rescued turtles. After receiving such a sudden influx in just one month, the New England Aquarium reached out to our rescue program for help. We are currently rehabilitating 8 of these sea turtles, with full recovery expected to take 5 to 6 months or longer. Day-to-day care includes multiple feedings daily, medical treatments, veterinarian procedures and enrichment exercises!

With a historic influx of patients to the Animal Care Center this year, we are so grateful to Charm City Run for supporting MARP in their effort to save these injured sea turtles.

Make sure to stop by Charm City Run in Locust Point on Saturday for all of your running footwear, apparel, and accessories…and to support a great cause! 

A Blue View: Sea Turtle Conservation Series

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

In a two-part interview series with Dr. Kat Hadfield, Associate Veterinarian at National Aquarium, CEO John Racanelli discusses the endangered status of the world’s seven species of sea turtle and how organizations like the Aquarium and working to save them.

February 5, 2013: Sea Turtles and the Challenges They Face

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
the challenges facing sea turtle populations worldwide. 

The 33rd Annual International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, this week. More than 1,000 scientists from 75 different countries are gathering to discuss sea turtle biology, research and conservation, collaborative projects and community-based conservation efforts.

All sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are under the joint jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Major threats to sea turtles in the U.S. include, but are not limited to: cold-stunning; destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats; incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries; entanglement in marine debris; and vessel strikes.

January 31, 2013: A Busy Year for Sea Turtle Rescues

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
this extraordinarily busy season of turtle rescues!

In a normal year, the New England Aquarium takes in between 25 and 60 sea turtles. In 2012, that number was more than 200, with an extraordinarily high number of loggerheads (10 times the usual number seen in a year).

Such an influx of rescues caused significant strain on staff and resources, which lead New England Aquarium to reach out for help from other stranding partners. Dr. Kat Hadfield, associate veterinarian at the National Aquarium, was among those who headed to Quincy, Massachusetts, to help. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program tended to multiple patients from New England until they were ready for release!


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