Posts Tagged 'ocean city'



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?

Healthy animals make their way home

It’s been an exciting week for the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program, as they have traveled across Maryland to release six rehabilitated animals back to their ocean habitat!

Last Friday, the team traveled to Ocean City, Maryland, to release Guinness, the juvenile gray seal that originally stranded in Kittyhawk, North Carolina, on March 17, and days later came to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Watch a video of Guinness’ release:

Just two days later, the team traveled to Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, Maryland, to release five rehabilitated Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Bay. The five turtles, nicknamed Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Frosty, and Buddy after winter characters, were part of a larger group of cold-stunned turtles that came to the Aquarium from New England in December. As we’ve shared over the past six months, it has been a long journey for these endangered turtles. The release was certainly a celebration for our MARP team, and the hundreds of people who gathered on the beach to help send the turtles back to sea!

Watch a video of the releases:

Our friends at Oceana joined us for the turtle releases to help educate people about their save the sea turtles campaign, which is dedicated to the protection and restoration of sea turtle populations in the world’s oceans. The campaign works to reduce sea turtle bycatch in fisheries, protect sea turtle habitat and develop legislation to protect sea turtles.

Whenever financially and ethically possible, MARP fits released animals with satellite tags. The tags allow the team to temporarily monitor the migration of reintroduced animals. Whenever the animal surfaces, the tag sends a signal to a satellite, indicating its location.

Thanks to a recent grant, Guinness, Rudolph and Buddy were all affixed with satellite tracking tags. Guinness has already traveled more than 200 miles north, while the turtles seem to be hanging within a 50-mile radius of their release location. You can track their travels on our animal tracking page.

MARP depends on the generosity of volunteers to operate, but medical equipment, medications, and food for caring for these animals is expensive. If you’d like to help support MARP, you can make a donation online, or donate $5 right from your mobile phone by texting ACT to 20222.

A one-time donation of $5 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the National Aquarium by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Messaging & data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help.

Counting dolphins

It’s the annual dolphin count! Tomorrow, July 16, members of the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will be along the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, counting dolphins. Staff and volunteers will spend a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out data sheets.  Teams will be stationed on the beaches at 40th Street and 130th Street and at Assateague State Park. There will also be a vessel-based team aboard an Ocean City Coast Guard boat.

Why are we counting dolphins? Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gather long-term information 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.  Looking at population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem, as well as the abundance of prey. With your help, 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.

There are two ways to join in the fun: 1. Find us on the beach! If you are in the Ocean City area tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon, look for our Aquarium teams in blue at 40th Street and 130th Street. Bring your binoculars and help us count dolphins. 2. Enter our dolphin count contest! Think you know how many dolphins we will spot tomorrow? Text “count” and your guess to 30644 and you could win a pair of tickets to the Aquarium. (Msg and data rates apply.) The contest will end at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. The official count and winners will be announced here, so please check back.

Good luck and happy counting!

Rare whale sightings in Maryland

Visitors to the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, have been treated to some rare and interesting sightings recently. Our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) has received several reports of large whales feeding very close to shore over the last week, which makes for great viewing while on vacation.

The whale in the photograph below has been identified as a humpback whale and was spotted at 42nd Street in Ocean City on June 18. The picture was provided courtesy of Jennifer and Steve Gower.

Our MARP staff members have been fielding a lot of questions about these sightings, so we’d like to share some important information:

As you can see from the picture, the whale is very close to the shore. The Mid-Atlantic coast is a popular destination for migrating marine mammals (dolphins, whales, seals or manatees) and sea turtles, but recently these animals are coming much closer to land.

Why is that? Large whales, like most marine animals, tend to congregate in areas where food is plentiful. Recently, large schools of Atlantic menhaden have been spotted along the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Delaware. As a result of this, there have been several big pods of dolphins, and even large whales spotted very close to shore feeding on the menhaden; at times there have even been reports of dolphins and large whales feeding in the same area together – what an exciting sight!

Continue reading ‘Rare whale sightings in Maryland’

Rescued, rehabbed and released

Last week, Hastings, a rescued harbor seal, was successfully returned to sea! With thousands watching—on the beach and through live coverage on WMAR-TV (Ch 2. in Baltimore) —Hastings made his way back to his ocean home on Thursday, May 13. He had spent four months under the care of our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) to recover from a wound under his front flipper and some other medical conditions. Watch a video of the release: 

Hastings was the 83rd animal released by the National Aquarium. He was fitted with a satellite tracking tag so we can track and monitor his progress,  and help scientists understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals. As of today he was in the Delaware Bay, headed North! Check it out!

MARP has nursed many stranded marine animals back to health, caring for them around the clock to get them back on their flippers or fins. But these animals need your help. Food, medicine and equipment can cost up to $200 per day for one animal. Simply stated, your gift will enable us to keep providing life saving medical treatment to some of the world’s most treasured animals, just like Hastings! Click here to donate today.


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