Posts Tagged 'marine animal rescue program'



A Blue View: Seal Season

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.

February 13, 2013: Seal Season

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John discuss the upcoming seal season and how to spot seals in need of medical assistance.

Seal sightings are rare for even the most frequent beach-goers to the Mid-Atlantic shore. In a typical year, about 20 are spotted in Ocean City, Maryland. Because seals prefer a cold-water environment, they tend to visit our area as they travel south from subarctic regions in the winter months and return north during summer months. Healthy seals regularly rest on land in a behavior called “hauling out.”

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

If you’re lucky, harp, gray, hooded, and harbor seals can be spotted on our beaches from late winter through spring.These four seal species are semi-aquatic, meaning they can survive for lengths of time both in water and on land. When seals are spotted on land, they are usually resting after long swims or warming up in the sunlight. Seals will also haul out on stormy days to wait out the rough seas.

Because seal sightings are rare, people often assume that a seal on land is injured or sick. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way to determine if an animal is healthy. The key is to observe the animal’s posture. When a seal is lying in a “banana-shaped” position with its head and body curved and facing upright, the animal is simply resting and will more than likely return to the water when it’s ready. Enjoy the sight from a distance, though, as seals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is illegal to disturb them.

This is a "normal" banana position.

A seal lying in the normal, “banana-shaped” position.

If a seal is lying in a “bear rug” position, however, with its stomach and head on the ground, the animal is in need of further monitoring and, potentially, rehabilitation. In those cases, contact local authorities or animal control. It’s important to remember never to approach a seal that looks like it may be in distress. Even though your intentions may be good, the animal will be under an enormous amount of stress. The animal may flee, even if injured, decreasing the chances that a rescue team will be able to help it.

sick seal
If you see a seal on the beach, give the animal lots of space, at least 150 feet, and avoid loud or sudden noises. Stay downwind from the seal if possible. Keep pets on leashes, and if you have to walk around a seal, walk on the land side to avoid blocking its path to the water. And never offer food to a seal—it’s not only bad for the seal, but it’s illegal and could result in a large fine. Disturbing the seal by making it change locations or flee back into the water is against the law.

The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works with local authorities and a network of animal rescue and response organizations along the East Coast to respond to reports of seals on beaches and animals that appear to be in trouble.

Our team of first responders is specially trained to evaluate an animal’s health and behaviors. They are looking for any signs of injury such as entanglement, sores or abrasions, open wounds, bleeding, cataracts, dehydration, or emaciation. The team will determine the appropriate intervention for the animal, and may bring the seal back to our Animal Care Center for rehabilitation and later release.

If you see a seal that may be in need of medical attention, please call the National Aquarium’s Stranding Hotline 410-373-0083 or Maryland’s Natural Resources Police 1-800-628-9944. In a real emergency, you can simply call the local police or beach patrol, and they’ll contact the proper authorities.

 

Visit Charm City Run THIS Saturday and Support MARP!

Need some new kicks to wear to our next conservation event? What about new running accessories so you can hit the city streets and running trails in style?

Visit our friends at Charm City Run in Locust Point THIS Saturday, February 16! Charm City Run is donating 10 percent of all proceeds from that day to our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP).

Deirdre feeding MARP turtles
Deirdre Weadock of Charm City Run visited our Animal Care Center last week to help care for our current turtle patients. This was not Deirdre’s first visit to the Animal Care Center; from 2005 to 2011, she was a senior dolphin trainer at the Aquarium!

Since 1991, MARP has rescued, treated, and released nearly 100 animals to their natural habitats, including seals, sea turtles, dolphins, a harbor porpoise, a pygmy sperm whale, and a manatee.

At National Aquarium, sea turtles are the most common patients in our Animal Care Center. All sea turtles in U.S. waters are listed as endangered species, and often face dangers such as cold stunning and injury from boat propellers. The turtles currently being rehabilitated by staff came from New England and are being treated for cold-stunning and pneumonia.

green sea turtle

2012 was a historic year for sea turtle rescue along the Northeast coast. Typically, the New England Aquarium rescues 25 to 60 sea turtles per year; however, last year that number grew to more than 200 rescued turtles. After receiving such a sudden influx in just one month, the New England Aquarium reached out to our rescue program for help. We are currently rehabilitating 8 of these sea turtles, with full recovery expected to take 5 to 6 months or longer. Day-to-day care includes multiple feedings daily, medical treatments, veterinarian procedures and enrichment exercises!

With a historic influx of patients to the Animal Care Center this year, we are so grateful to Charm City Run for supporting MARP in their effort to save these injured sea turtles.

Make sure to stop by Charm City Run in Locust Point on Saturday for all of your running footwear, apparel, and accessories…and to support a great cause! 

A Blue View: Sea Turtle Conservation Series

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.

In a two-part interview series with Dr. Kat Hadfield, Associate Veterinarian at National Aquarium, CEO John Racanelli discusses the endangered status of the world’s seven species of sea turtle and how organizations like the Aquarium and working to save them.

February 5, 2013: Sea Turtles and the Challenges They Face

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
the challenges facing sea turtle populations worldwide. 

The 33rd Annual International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, this week. More than 1,000 scientists from 75 different countries are gathering to discuss sea turtle biology, research and conservation, collaborative projects and community-based conservation efforts.

All sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are under the joint jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Major threats to sea turtles in the U.S. include, but are not limited to: cold-stunning; destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats; incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries; entanglement in marine debris; and vessel strikes.

January 31, 2013: A Busy Year for Sea Turtle Rescues

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
this extraordinarily busy season of turtle rescues!

In a normal year, the New England Aquarium takes in between 25 and 60 sea turtles. In 2012, that number was more than 200, with an extraordinarily high number of loggerheads (10 times the usual number seen in a year).

Such an influx of rescues caused significant strain on staff and resources, which lead New England Aquarium to reach out for help from other stranding partners. Dr. Kat Hadfield, associate veterinarian at the National Aquarium, was among those who headed to Quincy, Massachusetts, to help. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program tended to multiple patients from New England until they were ready for release!

Celebrate Giving Tuesday by Helping Us Achieve Our Conservation Mission!

This year, nonprofit organizations from across the country came together to establish a day for giving back, Giving Tuesday.

With the holiday season becoming more and more associated with deal days like “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, #GivingTuesday presents the opportunity for nonprofits worldwide to encourage charitable giving, volunteerism and conscious consumerism. It’s also the perfect day to donate to your favorite nonprofit! We have a day dedicated to giving thanks and two for getting deals…why not have one day to help support our favorite nonprofit organizations?

That’s how the first #GivingTuesday, today Nov. 27, got its start.

So today, we hope you’ll consider helping us achieve our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures by supporting our Marine Animal Rescue team in any of the following ways:

Make a donation to our Marine Animal Rescue Program  (MARP)

Every year, thousands of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, seals and manatees become sick or injured, often due to human-related reasons. Our MARP team is responsible for responding to live sea turtle and marine mammal strandings along the nearly 7,000 miles of coastline in Maryland, including the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coasts. MARP depends on the generosity of volunteers to operate and care for these animals, plus medical equipment, medication, food and other expenses associated with caring for these animals really adds up quickly. 

loggerhead turtle hatchling

Rescued loggerhead turtle

YOU can help us help animals in need!

Where does your donation go? 

By donating just $25 to MARP, you will also be entered into our Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes

More comfortable donating much-need items? You can still help MARP by gifting some of the things on their wishlist this year!

  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
  • DOT helmets (assorted sizes, new or gently used)
  • UHF radio repeater
  • USB flash drives
  • Fun holiday window decals or water animal decals
  • New or gently used kitchen knives

Your contribution makes it possible to continue our important work and will help give threatened and endangered species a second chance at life!

Are you participating in #givingTuesday? If so, tell us how in the comments and on Twitter

National Aquarium Celebrates Rescued Turtle Release

This morning, National Aquarium Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) joined the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program for a release of three rescued sea turtles. The rehabilitated turtles, Olympian, a juvenile green sea turtle; Merigo, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle; and Charlie, a loggerhead sea turtle, came to both facilities either sick or injured.

Olympian
Olympian, a 9-pound green sea turtle, was brought to the National Aquarium MARP team after being spotted floating off the coast of New Jersey in August. Olympian was treated for over-inflated lungs and possible pneumonia in the new MARP sea turtle rehabilitation center. Staff closely monitored the turtle’s behavior, diet and health and within a few weeks, found him resting on the bottom of his tank.

marine animal rescue

National Aquarium team members joined in South Carolina to say farewell and good luck to Olympian. Photo Courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

Olympian has been outfitted with a satellite transmitter that allows the Aquarium team to track the location and speed following the release. These tags help researchers learn more about sea turtle migration and travel patterns.

The public is invited to keep an eye on Olympian’s journey at: aqua.org/olympian

green sea turtle

Olympian, the green sea turtle, is outfitted with a satellite transmitter & the public is invited to keep an eye on Olympian’s journey! Photo courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

 

Merigo
Merigo, a 9-pound juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, was brought to the South Carolina Sea Turtle Rescue Program in January with a large group of Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles found cold-stunned off the coast of Massachusetts. Sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles but become hypothermic when exposed to cold water temperatures for extended periods of time. Kemp’s are the most endangered and the smallest of all sea turtle species, making them particularly vulnerable to severe changes in water temperature. Merigo is the last of the original January rescue turtles group to be released.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle

Merigo, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, prepped and ready to be released.
Photo courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle

Merigo getting ready to jump in!
Photo courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

Charlie
Charlie, a 150-pound loggerhead sea turtle, was found by the Department of Natural Resource’s research vessel, the Lady Lisa, in June. Charlie had a stingray barb in his front flipper and a puncture wound in his neck. South Carolina’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program provided antibiotics as well as wound treatment and he has now fully recovered from his injuries.

loggerhead rescue turtle

Being a much larger turtle, it took a few people to lift Charlie! Photo courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

loggerhead sea turtle

Charlie, a loggerhead sea turtle, ready to jump in the warm waters!
Photo courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium

Prior to release, all three turtles had been very active in their rehab tanks, with healthy appetites and desire for enrichment activities.

About MARP

Every year, thousands of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, seals and manatees become sick or injured, often due to human-related reasons. National Aquarium is part of the Northeast Stranding Network, and is responsible for responding to live sea turtle and marine mammal strandings along the nearly 7,000 miles of coastline in Maryland, including the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coasts.

Since 1991, the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) has responded to more than 480 animals in distress and has rehabilitated and released nearly 100 marine animals back to their natural environment. Many of these animals are endangered or threatened, so every individual introduced back into the natural environment has the opportunity to add to the genetic diversity of the species.

Research, satellite tracking and outreach education are also significant components of MARP. Every animal that is rehabilitated and released is an opportunity to raise awareness and get the public involved in helping to conserve and protect our marine resources.

YOU can help protect marine animals too! Here are some quick tips:

  • Be responsible with your litter: recycle and dispose of trash properly, including fishing line, cigarette butts, six-pack rings, plastic debris, and metal cans.
  • Never release balloons. Balloons can fall into bodies of water, where animals confuse them for food or become entangled in them.
  • If you come across a stranded marine animal in Maryland that may be in need of medical attention, please call the National Aquarium’s Stranding Hotline at 410-373-0083, or the Maryland Natural Resources Police at 1-800-628-9944.
  • Donate to MARP! Every dollar counts!
  • Visit aqua.org/MARP to find out even more ways that you can help!

MARP Turtles Update

Greetings from the sea turtle rehab area!

Our veterinary and husbandry staff have been working hard to make sure our two turtle residents, London and Olympian, are receiving the best care during their stay here at National Aquarium. When we first introduced you all to London, a Kemp’s ridley, and Olympian, a green sea turtle, they had just arrived to our care center and we had just identified their injuries.  These two turtles have come quite a long way since their arrival from New Jersey!

London has been receiving daily wound treatments and antibiotics.  His wounds, although healing at a slow pace, are healing properly.  We’ve also seen an increase in his diet –  he is now eating 75 grams of food per day, including shrimp, squid and soft-shell crab.  London spends a good bit of time “hiding” in his pool, but don’t worry, this is a natural behavior. Our team has given him large half-moon cuts of thick PVC so that he can find shelter.  When he is not swimming and diving, that is where you can find him.

London has been taking it easy since he arrived

Olympian, who came to us with buoyancy problems, was found to have hyper-inflated lungs which could have attributed to the difficulty diving.  However, upon arrival one morning to feed the turtles, our staff found Olympian resting on the bottom of the pool! He had no problems diving to the bottom for food throughout the rest of the day and his diving continues to improve daily! Olympian is almost never found resting now that he knows he can dive again.

Olympian is starting to explore his surroundings more now that buoyancy is no longer an issue

Olympian’s appetite is keeping us on our toes! He’s currently consuming 117 grams of food per day, including lettuce, brussels sprouts, green peppers, shrimp, squid and soft-shell crab.

Olympian has us on our toes now that he can freely dive and swim about!

We’re happy to report that these turtles continue to improve every day. Look out for more updates from our team soon right here on our WATERblog!

MARP Update – Caring for 2 Rescued Sea Turtles

The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team has two new patients in the Animal Care Center (ACC). The sea turtles, named London and Olympian, were originally found floating off the coast of New Jersey, and were rescued by our stranding partner,  New Jersey Marine Mammal Stranding Center (NJMMSC).

London, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, stranded on July 25 outside of a power plant, suffering from wounds associated with an impingement ( much like tendinitis). Our team is treating London for a bruised shell and possible pneumonia. London has been eagerly munching on shrimp and squid, and has become more active over the last two weeks.

London was injured at a power plant in New Jersey and is now being rehabilitated by our staff. Photo courtesy of Pat Venturino

Olympian, a green sea turtle, was spotted floating off the New Jersey coast on August 13. After being brought in, NJMMSC realized that Olympian was suffering from a severe case of edema, an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin that causes swelling. The edema initially decreased during the first 24 hours in rehabilitation, but Olympian continues to have a buoyancy problem. Our staff is working hard to diagnose the reason behind the buoyancy problem, but Olympian seems to be slowly responding to treatment. Olympian is eating more every day and is enjoying a diet of shrimp, squid, romaine lettuce, green peppers, and Brussels sprouts!

Olympian is eating well and loves to munch on greens like lettuce. Photo courtesy of Pat Venturino

Both London and Olympian are being closely monitored at the Aquarium’s off-site Animal Care Center (ACC). The ACC is an off-site facility where animals clearing quarantine are held before entering an exhibit, and where wild animals in need of rehabilitation stay. Earlier this summer, MARP and Aquarium staff worked together to get our new sea turtle rehabilitation center up and running. Several precautions were adjusted or added during the recent renovation so that all animals remain safe and healthy during their stay at our facility.

Please remember, if you are out on the water, keep your eye out for marine wildlife in our area. It is around this time that we see different animals migrating through our local waters, as Maryland waters are a thoroughfare for several ocean species. Animals that the MARP team usually sees in this region include sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seals. While sea turtles will generally stay in the water, they do surface for breaths of air, so be careful if out on a boat. Boat strikes are, unfortunately, a common cause of marine animal injury. Click here to find out more ways you can help protect marine animals!

Stay tuned for more updates about London and Olympian as they continue to rehabilitate with our MARP team! 


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