Posts Tagged 'MARP'



Thoughtful Thursdays: Help Us Heal the Seals!

Enjoy, Respect, ProtectGoing “green” isn’t about changing your entire lifestyle all at once. A sustainable lifestyle is achieved by making a series of Thoughtful Choices. Each week, on Thursdays, we will share a simple tip for how we can all help keep our planet healthy.

Our Choice
Since 1991, the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program has responded to more than 480 animals in distress and has rehabilitated and released nearly 100 marine animals back to their natural environment. Research, satellite tag tracking, and outreach education are also significant components of this program.

Your Choice
MARP needs a new hospital pool for rehabbing sick and injured seals. You can support our Marine Animal Rescue Program and local Baltimore-area businesses by donating to our Heal the Seals campaign through GiveCorps.

With GiveCorps, you can support causes that move you, and get rewarded for your generosity with great deals from local merchants. Today’s deal is $5 off at Bonjour French Bakery Cafe!

Update on the loggerhead in rehab

The loggerhead sea turtle that was admitted at the end of August is doing very well in rehab. She is eating about 2 pounds of food per day; her diet consists of shrimp, squid (calamari!), capelin, and two blue crabs. She’s keeping the staff and volunteers on their toes with how strong she’s getting!

MARP staff has also introduced enrichment into her daily routine. Staff monitors her closely to make sure she cannot destroy or ingest the enrichment items. So far heavy-duty dog toys are doing the trick, since she can’t get her sharp beak on these toys to shred them.

Enrichment

We’ll continue to update you on her progress throughout her stay here at the National Aquarium!

Last Kemp’s ridley turtle released back to sea

From Amber White, Marine Animal Rescue Program Aide

What, to many, seemed like a cold and dreary day this weekend was an exciting day for a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle; after more than nine months in rehab, he was finally ready to go home.

Ready to go home

On October 1, the last of the 11 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles the Marine Animal Rescue Program took in last winter was released into the Chesapeake Bay from the quiet beach at Point Lookout State Park.

Even though the air temperatures have dropped and it feels like fall, the bay water still provides optimal water temperatures for this little guy to start his new life back at sea.

This turtle was kept in rehab longer than the others for continued observation of his digestive system. We always make sure we give each turtle the absolute best chance for survival in the wild. Unfortunately, in their natural environment, sea turtles come across many manmade materials that look like the food they would eat, such as plastic bags, balloons, and small plastic objects. Ingesting this trash can injure marine animals, or even result in death from asphyxiation.

With his X-rays and final medical examination receiving the OK from our wonderful veterinary staff, he was given the green light for release.

Neither rain nor wind could stop this turtle from making the trek across the sand and back into his natural habitat.

Release

A big thank you to the staff at Point Lookout State Park, for allowing us to use their beach for all of our releases this summer. We have a great partnership with the park staff and always look forward to working with them.

Volunteer Spotlight: College interns dive into conservation work

This summer, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) was lucky enough to take on four college student interns, thanks to generous grant funding from Dillon Fund and Praxair. In just eight short weeks, these enthusiastic students jumped feet-first into the world of conservation and the many career avenues that exist within the field. Each intern came to us with different backgrounds, school experiences, and personal strengths, but together they made a great team!

Zebidiah Buck, a rising senior at Lycoming College in Central Pennsylvania, had lots of experience researching freshwater reptiles and amphibians in local streams, but yearned to dive into the bigger waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean!

Other interns came to us from our very own Baltimore City; Russell Bunn is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a degree in biology and marine/estuarine science, and LaVonna Livingston is a rising sophomore at University of Maryland College Park, who was previously part of the Aquarium on Wheels Program in high school. Tiana Jones is a rising sophomore at UMES who learned of ACT’s efforts by participating in several of our past restoration events through her volunteer work with the Maryland Conservation Corps.

This crew worked with both the Marine Animal Rescue Program and the Conservation Team, exposing them to a wide variety of experiences. They spent time behind the scenes at both the Baltimore and D.C. venues of the National Aquarium, and came face to face with some other amazing animals at the National Zoo, as well.

Some of their most rewarding work involved hands-on care of animals being rehabilitated at the Aquarium, and then assisting with the releases of several sea turtles and a gray seal! They planted marsh grass at Poplar Island, collected debris at Fort McHenry, canoed, camped, and generally took in everything the environmental world had to offer! One of the summer’s highlights included a week-long trip to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to explore graduate school options and learn more about the scientific research that supports marsh restoration.

These students were an invaluable asset to our educational programs and restoration trips, and helped us to complete projects that we simply could not have accomplished without their help. We thank them for their hard work and upbeat attitudes, and wish them the best of luck in their future conservation endeavors!

Join us in Ocean City for the 2011 Dolphin Count!

One of the joys of going to the beach is being able to see dolphins surf in the waves, or spotting a group of seals resting off the coast. The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works hard throughout the year to monitor and respond to marine animals that inhabit Maryland’s coast, while educating the public about keeping our waterways safe and healthy for the animals we love so much.

This Friday, July 22nd, the public is invited to join Aquarium staff for the Annual Maryland Dolphin Count along the Atlantic coast of Maryland.

Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists capture a snapshot look about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding, and feeding along the way. With the help of volunteers we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast. 

The annual Dolphin Count involves spending a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out a data sheet. Aquarium staff will be stationed at the following locations:

  • Assateague State Park (Day Use Area)
  • 40th street in Ocean City at the beach
  • 130th street in Ocean City at the beach

Members of the public are welcome to join Aquarium staff at one of the above locations! Just look for Aquarium staff in blue shirts looking toward the water for dolphins! The count will begin at 9am and end at noon. The event is free and open to the public. As a reminder, it is always helpful to bring the following items for comfort:

  • A beach chair or blanket
  • Water to keep hydrated
  • Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses
  • Binoculars, optional

On Thursday, July 21st, join us at Seacrets: Jamaica USA (49th street in Ocean City, MD) from 3:30pm – 9:00pm for a special fundraiser to benefit the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program. Aquarium staff will have games and activities for kids beginning at 3:30 and all cover fees will be donated to the Marine Animal Rescue Program from 5-9. Join staff and volunteers for fun games and activities, and learn more about their important work in Ocean City!

For more information on either event, email MARP@aqua.org.

So, how many dolphins do you think we’ll count?


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