Posts Tagged 'sea turtle'



Anna the loggerhead turtle goes home

We’re happy to announce that the loggerhead turtle that was admitted to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation late this summer was released this week!

The Ocean City Beach Patrol officer who saved her and carried her to shore—on a boogie board!—had the honor of naming her, and he chose “Anna.” MARP staff is amazed at how far this turtle has come in just a few months. When she arrived, she was severely emaciated and covered with a heavy barnacle load, and could barely swim. Now she’s a healthy, active turtle with a big appetite!

Staff from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program released Anna, along with a loggerhead that underwent rehab there and four yearling head-start loggerheads from the Virginia Aquarium. All the turtles were released from a vessel off the coast of North Carolina, where water temperatures are warm enough this time of year to support sea turtles.

This is a great example of how aquariums and stranding response facilities work together to attain common goals and give sick and injured animals a second chance at life. A big thanks to MARP volunteers and our partners at the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program!

MARP depends on the generosity of volunteers to operate, but medical equipment, medications, and food for caring for these animals is expensive. Your gift makes it possible to continue this important work.  Donate to MARP »

Jimmy and Teddy go home

Remember Jimmy and Teddy? We’re happy to announce that these two loggerhead sea turtles were returned to their native North Carolina shores last week.

Aquarist with baby loggerheads

An aquarist at the North Carolina Aquarium introduces the National Aquarium team to their new baby turtles.

After spending a year with these two charming fellows in the National Aquarium, Washington, DC’s Headstart program, it was time to return them to the North Carolina Aquarium so that they can be released back to their natural habitat. While Jimmy and Teddy will be missed, the National Aquarium team is happy to see these two little loggerheads all grown up, and ready for return to the wild. Besides, they got to bring two new equally lovable 2-month-old loggerheads back to the Aquarium in DC!

Sea turtles have a challenging life. Weighing just 20 grams at birth, they face many natural predators both on the sandy beaches where they hatch and in the oceans where they dwell. Once actively hunted for their eggs and meat, loggerheads have a low survival rate. They have been classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In order to help save these magnificent animals from extinction, the National Aquarium participates in the North Carolina Aquarium’s Headstart program, which gives baby sea turtles a better chance at survival. Through this program, sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow. Once they are given a clean bill of health and an extra boost of nutrition, they are released back to the ocean.

Baby loggerhead turtle

One of the new 2-month-old turtles!

The new baby turtles were rescued from North Carolina beaches before Hurricane Irene hit. Last week, National Aquarium staff brought them to our DC venue, where they will remain in quarantine while their health and growth is closely monitored. When they’re ready, the two new baby loggerheads will be on exhibit. (We’ll be sure to let you know when that happens!) It is estimated that these baby turtles will weigh around 1,500 grams (a little more than 3 pounds) by next fall when they will return to North Carolina for release into the ocean. Eventually, these turtles could weigh up to 200 pounds!

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.

Wounded Warriors dive in the Aquarium

This summer, the National Aquarium welcomed some very special guests for a very special evening. Nine wounded soldiers from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center were able to live a dream and scuba dive in the Aquarium as part of their rehabilitation programs.

Wounded Warriors Dive

These veterans, who participate in a program called Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS), were taught the basics of Aquarium diving and safety procedures before plunging into the world of sting rays, sharks, and more than 50 species of fish. Each diver was accompanied in the water by dive professionals from the Aquarium.

Wounded Warriors Dive

The animals responded exceptionally well and greeted all of them. Calypso, our green sea turtle who also happens to be an amputee, was very curious and interactive. One of the double-amputee veterans was in the Wings in the Water exhibit and Calypso came over to look at his prosthetic legs and then just sat down in his lap. She was a huge hit with all of the veterans, and everyone had a great time!

Wounded Warriors Dive

The National Aquarium is honored to have worked with these heroes, and we look forward to doing this again soon!


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