Posts Tagged 'National Aquarium Animal Rescue'



A Blue View: Taking Care of Turtles

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.

December 18, 2013: Taking Care of Turtles

A Blue View podcastClick here to listen to John and our Manager
of Animal Rescue, Jenn Dittmar
discuss this
year’s influx of cold- 
stunned sea turtle patients!

Last winter was an historic year for turtle rescue, with a cold-stun incident stranding hundreds of turtles along the northeast coast. This year is off to another quick start, with many turtles stranded already and more coming in every day (In fact, our team is slated to get another 6-9 patients this afternoon!).

national aquarium kemps ridley turtle

How cold-stunning works: A sea turtles body temperature will drop (from the ideal range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) to match the temperature of the water that surrounds them.  As the weather gets colder in our area and water temps dip, the turtles become hypothermic.

The hypothermia suppresses the turtles’ immune system, leaving them susceptible to pneumonia and infections, and can keep them from diving properly, which is how they collect much of their food.

So far this season,  close to 100 cold-stunned turtles have come into Animal Rescue facilities along the Northeast. While the numbers have yet to match last year’s historic influx, this season has already seen a lot of activity!

Click here to listen to Jenn describe how the turtles are rescued and released! 

Blog-Header-JohnRacanelli

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!

Dolphin Stranding Update: Investigative Range Extends Through Florida

national aquarium Animal Rescue Update

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently provided an update on the ongoing Unusual Mortality Event (UME) affecting bottlenose dolphins in the mid-Atlantic. Based on recent stranding patterns and test results from stranded dolphins, the NOAA and UME Investigative Team formally expanded the range of the event to include New York through Florida – which translates to roughly 1,600 miles of Atlantic coast.

Over the past few weeks, above ‘normal’ baseline strandings for this time of year have been reported in North Carolina and South Carolina, meanwhile, Florida is just beginning to see an increase in dolphin strandings. The population of bottlenose dolphins from New York to Virginia is mainly migratory. These dolphins are beginning to migrate south to warmer waters, which is the likely reason that North Carolina and South Carolina are seeing an overall increase in strandings.

NOAA dolphin stranding numbers

This graph from NOAA shows the total number of strandings reported this year, by state – since it’s creation, raw data from Florida’s strandings has also been collected by NOAA.

In addition to expanding the range of the event, NOAA is also awaiting final test results to determine if the virus that is attributed to this UME is also responsible for the deaths of other dolphin and whale species. Three humpback whales and two pygmy sperm whales have tested positive as carriers of the morbillivirus, however, further testing is needed to determine if these animals displayed any clinical signs and if the virus was the cause of death.

The beginning of this UME was classified as July 1, and to date the event has proven to be quite significant. According to the official NOAA website for this event, there have been more than 900 dolphin strandings from New York to South Carolina during the time frame of January 1, 2013 to November 4, 2013 – this number is 4.5 times higher than the average number of strandings.

National Aquarium continues to support this event by responding to live-stranded dolphins in Maryland. In addition to boots-on-the-ground response, our National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff are supporting the event by assisting the Incident Management Team that is coordinating the response plans within the designated UME area.

national aquarium animal rescue expert jennifer dittmar


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