Posts Tagged 'animal rehabilitation'

Our Last Seal Patient is Ready for Release!

Animal Rescue Update

Our remaining grey seal patient, Eyegore, is doing great! Eyegore came to us for long-term rehabilitation about two months ago. He was initially admitted for a respiratory infection, an eye infection of the left eye and alopecia (hair loss).

grey seal

Eyegore’s respiratory and eye infections have cleared and his hair is regrowing in the areas around his neck and abdomen that were affected by the hair loss.

Eyegore coat before and after

Eyegore’s coat has come a long way since his first days in rehab!

While his eye infection has cleared, he has permanent corneal scarring of the left eye that is a result of the previous infection. A consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist revealed that Eyegore is likely blind in his left eye. Despite blindness in his left eye, Eyegore has a strong personality and appetite, which are great traits for a wild seal! He enjoys interacting with enrichment items, and his favorite is an orange sled that we fill with fish and ice.

Eyegore has been cleared for release, which our staff is now in the process of planning. We’ll be sure to keep everyone update as details for his release come together.

Be sure to wish Eyegore well on our Facebook page and follow Jenn on Twitter for real-time updates!

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Rescued Grey Seal, Ponyboy, Has Been Released!

Earlier today, National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff and volunteers released their 99th rehabilitated animal – a grey seal named Ponyboy!

national aquarium grey seal release

The release took place on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland and was open to the public! Below are some photos locals captured of Ponyboy’s release:

After coming to our Animal Care Center three months ago with a severe wound to his front flipper and a respiratory infection, Ponyboy was given a clean bill of health last week.

This is the second of three seals that our Animal Rescue team has rehabilitated this season. Another grey seal, is still currently undergoing treatment for a respiratory infection. After being stabilized at the Virginia Aquarium for about a month, he was transferred to the National Aquarium for long-term rehabilitation in late May.

In the coming weeks, our Animal Rescue team is excited to announce that they will be releasing their 100th rehabilitated animal!

Stay tuned for more details on this exciting milestone!

Animal Rescue Update: Help Us Say Goodbye to Ponyboy!

Animal Rescue Update

Our Animal Rescue and Animal Health teams have been busy performing physical exams on our sea turtle and seal patients that last few weeks. We’re proud to announce that grey seal Ponyboy is ready for release! Ponyboy was admitted for rehabilitation on Sunday, March 31 (Easter) from Ocean City, MD. He required treatment for a severe wound to his left front flipper, and a mild respiratory infection.

grey seal

Ponyboy’s flipper injury was quite severe, though the cause of the wound is unknown. The injury healed well with minor surgery and routine wound treatment. Recent x-rays of the affected area indicate that the bone has healed well with no signs of infection, and Ponyboy is using his flipper normally.

grey seal

Ponyboy was named after the same character from the 1980’s movie The Outsiders, (this year’s naming theme is Bratpack movies)! He will be released just north of the inlet at Ocean City, Maryland on Wednesday, June 12 at 11 am. We’d like to invite our local community to join us on the beach for Ponyboy’s release!

If you can’t join us to person to say goodbye to Ponyboy, wish him well on our Facebook page or on Twitter!

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A new turtle for MARP

The Marine Animal Rescue Program team has been very active with sea turtle rescues this year, and their work is not finished just yet. In late October a new green sea turtle patient was submitted to the MARP hospital. The turtle was found cold stunned in New Jersey and transported to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.

“Cold stunning” occurs when sea turtles are exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. Initial symptoms can include a decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death. Sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles that depend on external sources of heat to determine their body temperature. In cold water they do not have the ability to warm themselves, and must instead migrate to warmer waters.

Sea turtles are commonly found in waters off the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. during the summer and early fall. They typically begin to migrate south by late October. It is thought that animals foraging in shallow bays and inlets become susceptible to cold stunning because the temperatures in these areas can drop quite rapidly and unexpectedly.

Ideal body temperature for sea turtles is 80 F but upon arrival to the Aquarium the animal’s body temperature was just 72 F. After an initial examination the turtle was admitted to a pool with a water temperature of 73 F. The temperature was slowly increased to the ideal 78-80 range over the span of a few days.

Our veterinarians believe the turtle is about 2-3 years of age. Its current weight is just 6 pounds, which is fairly consistent for a turtle of that age class. The turtle is adjusting well to the water temperature and has been chowing down on brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, and dandelion greens! The MARP team expects to release the turtle back into warmer waters in the few months.

Loggerhead turtle released, and headed south

Every Sea Turtle Counts. After a year-long rehabilitation, the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) has returned a now-healthy loggerhead sea turtle to its ocean habitat!  Over 500 people gathered on the beach at Assateague State Park for the release and watched in anticipation as the turtle swam through the waves, and returned to sea! Here is the video:

As you have just heard, to the National Aquarium, investing time and resources to healing one individual sea turtle is important because there are only seven living species of sea turtles globally, and all of them are either endangered or threatened.  When this loggerhead came to us it was unlikely to survive much less continue to propagate its species. Now that it is healthy, we have every reason to believe that it will be successful in its natural environment.

 Click here to track the turtle’s travels online! The Aquarium fitted it with a satellite tag, funded by the Shared Earth Foundation, which is transmitting information about its location and speed. As of yesterday the turtle has traveled 46 miles and is heading south to warmer waters!

The Aquarium is committed to protecting and rehabilitating sea turtles and needs public support to continue this important work. The MARP program is funded solely by grants and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of just one marine animal can cost the program up to $50,000. Donations can be made via mail or on the Aquarium’s website at http://www.aqua.org/makeadifference/marp.html.


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