Posts Tagged 'marine mammal protection act'

Celebrating Our Nation’s Eco-Friendly Presidents!

Happy President’s Day! In honor of today’s holiday, we’re celebrating some of our history’s most environmentally-friendly heads of state:

Mount Rushmore

Image via Wikipedia Commons.

Thomas Jefferson

As our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson was responsible for laying down a lot of the groundwork for the way that our country functions. In his spare time, Jefferson spent a good deal nurturing his own curiosity in nature. Did you know? Thomas Jefferson was an avid horticulturist at his Monticello home!

In addition to his own personal admiration for the natural world, Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition, during which a great deal was discovered about our country’s natural landscape and native wildlife!

Theodore Roosevelt

“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.” – President “Teddy” Roosevelt

President Roosevelt is widely-regarded as our history’s most environmentally-active leader. During his two terms in office, Roosevelt established the U.S. Forest Service and created the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Did you know? Over 200 million acres of land were placed under federal protection during Roosevelt’s presidency!

Franklin D. Roosevelt

In addition to guiding America through the Great Depression and World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt championed the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

As the country’s first nationally-united conservation team, the CCC planted billions of trees, cleared up waterways and streams and constructed close to 1,000 parks across the country!

Lyndon B. Johnson

“We see that there is another course…Down this course lies a natural America restored to her people. The promise is clear rivers, tall forests, and clear air – a sane environment for man.” – President Lyndon B. Johnson

During his two terms in office, President Johnson was responsible for creating the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Act of 1966 and the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965!

Johnson was also the first president to sign acts concerning clean air and water quality into law. Policies like the Clean Air Act and Water Quality Act established quality standards and government authority to combat air and water pollution.

Richard Nixon

Despite leaving a scandalous legacy, President Richard Nixon did many positive things for the environment during his time in office.

In addition to creating the Environmental Protection Agency, Nixon signed the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1974 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which has successfully protected 99 percent of its listed species from going extinct in the last 40 years.

Barack Obama

After many decades of resource abuse and habitat degradation, President Barack Obama has been faced with many challenges when it comes to managing our country’s environmental impact and policies.

In addition to his plans to curb carbon pollution in the US, President Obama is responsible for creating our nation’s first-ever National Ocean Policy. The goal of this policy and its corresponding implementation plan is to streamline how Federal agencies work together to manage the ocean economy, marine planning, habitat protection/restoration and research and exploration.

Did you celebrate President’s Day by getting out and enjoying the natural world? Tell us about it in the comments section!


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.


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