Posts Tagged 'new england aquarium'

We’re Ready to Release Our 100th Animal!

Animal Rescue Update

The 2012 cold-stun season for sea turtles in New England broke records. National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue team helped out our colleagues at the New England Aquarium by admitting 13 sea turtles for rehabilitation last December. We transported several turtles to Florida for long-term rehab and release in January, and several more for release to Florida in April.

We currently have four remaining turtles in our rehab center: two Kemp’s Ridleys (Duckie and Bender), a green (Willard), and a loggerhead (Rooney). We are very excited to announce that three of the four turtles are ready for release!

Any release is a cause for celebration, but this release is extra special, as we’ll be celebrating the release of our 100th animal! Actually, Duckie, Bender and Willard will represent our 100, 101 and 102 animals released! Since 1991, National Aquarium Animal Rescue has been responding to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles found along the Delmarva Peninsula (which encompasses Delaware, Maryland and Virginia).

In the last twenty years, our team has cared, rescued, treated and released a variety of species to their natural habitats, including: seals; sea turtles; rough-toothed dolphins; a harbor porpoise; a pygmy sperm whale; and a manatee. Each of these animals has an incredible story, and there is no better triumph than returning a healthy animal to the wild! You can read some of these stories on our website.

We’re excited to announce that our 100th release will be open to the public. Find out more details below:

National Aquarium 100th Rescue Animal Release

Saturday, June 22
4:00 pm EST

Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, MD
The release will occur at the Swimming Beach
Normal park entrance fees will apply

Join our National Aquarium Animal Rescue team as we release three turtles: two Kemp’s Ridley’s (Duckie and Bender) and a green (Willard).

Staff from the National Marine Life Center will also be on-site to release four rehabilitated sea turtles!

Sea turtles utilize the Chesapeake Bay as a source of food during the summer months. The two Kemp’s ridley’s and the green sea turtle that we will release this Saturday will likely remain within the Bay for the rest of the summer before migrating south in the fall. The loggerhead will remain in rehabilitation for long-term treatment of a chronic medical issue and will be released at a later date.

We hope you can join us to say farewell to Duckie, Bender, and Willard!

If you’re not able to join us on the beach, be sure to follow me on Twitter  for live updates, and leave your well-wishes for the trio in the comments below.


Thoughtful Thursdays: Collaborative Conservation Efforts In the Name of Sea Turtles!

Animal Rescue Update

Staff with the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) recently returned from a several-day road trip adventure named ‘Sea Turtle Trek’ to transport and release 52 endangered sea turtles off the Florida coast. National Aquarium joined staff from the New England Aquarium to transport the precious cargo from both of our facilities and several of our regional stranding partners, including University of New England Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center, National Marine Life Center, Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, Virginia Aquarium, South Carolina Aquarium.

The turtles that were transported for release had stranded during the record-breaking 2012 cold-stun season and were treated at the rehabilitation facilities mentioned above.

The overall transport began around 5 am on Saturday, April 6th in Biddeford, Maine and finally arrived to the release beach just north of Jacksonville, Florida around 9:30 am on Sunday, April 7. During the transport, we stopped several times to meet our partners and pick up additional turtles.

By the last stop to meet the South Carolina Aquarium, the transport staff were challenged to make all of the transport boxes fit safely into the four Chevrolet Suburban’s – it was like a big game of Tetris at 5 am!

By the last stop to meet the South Carolina Aquarium, the transport staff were challenged to make all of the transport boxes fit safely into the four Chevrolet Suburban’s – it was like a big game of Tetris at 5 am!

The turtles rode in a climate controlled environment, and were monitored by biologists from both transporting facilities. Since turtles have all the same bodily functions as every other animal, the staff were relieved to stop for short breaks every few hours and catch some fresh air.

After arriving to the release location, the turtles were unloaded from the vehicles to adjust to the sunlight and warm Florida weather. Staff massaged the turtles’ muscles to combat possible muscle fatigue, and many of the turtles became quite active in their transport crates. Finally, the turtles were lined up on the beach by facility and released in groups.

SeaTurtleTrek release

It’s always interesting to see all the individual personalities of the turtles – some turtles take off for the water as quickly as possible and don’t look back, while others need a little more coaxing.

seaturtletrek team

Turtle releases are always a cause for celebration, and this one was no exception. Staff gathered for lots of photos with the turtles, and several group photos after the releases.

Staff then celebrated with a much needed lunch on the water near the release location, where there were lots of smiles and sharing of photos from the release. By 4pm we were back on the road again and headed north to our overnight location of Jekyll Island, GA. Our friends at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center were gracious enough to let us use their facility to accomplish our final task of the day –cleaning transport crates. The team came together to wash, disinfect, and dry 52 transport crates in just under 40 minutes. By the time the vehicles were packed up with clean crates, we were ready for showers, some dinner, and lots of sleep!

52 clean transport crates_PC NEAq

Photo via New England Aquarium

After breakfast the following morning, we took a short walk on Driftwood Beach at Jekyll Island – the beach there is amazing, and a photographers dream. After the walk, we returned to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to meet with our colleagues, tour the facility, and listen to a lecture from Dr. Terry Norton. After visiting the gift shop and saying good-bye to the wonderful staff at Georgia Sea Turtle Center, it was time to travel north once again and head home.

Driftwood Beach

This collaborative transport and release event is a true testament as to how stranding and conservation organizations work together to accomplish a common goal. We collectively responded to a record cold-stun season by bringing staff, resources, and facilities together to save as many endangered sea turtles as possible. The staff commitment from all these facilities is never in question – whether it’s providing animal care on holidays, responding to stranding events at moment’s notice, or traveling the entire East coast to transport and release turtles – we’re in it together!


#SeaTurtleTrek Update – Back to the Big Blue!

The #SeaTurtleTrek release was a great success! 

After leaving Baltimore last night and driving through the night, our team and staff from New England Aquarium made it to the beach in Florida with 52 endangered sea turtles.

Welcome to Florida

Upon their arrival in Jacksonville, health samples were taken from each turtle.

Soon, it was time for the big beach release! The turtles were released by group in the following order: South Carolina Aquarium, Virginia Aquarium, Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, National Marine Life Center, University of New England, National Aquarium and finally, New England Aquarium!

Thanks to everyone for the messages of support over the last few days, they meant a lot to the whole trek team!

#SeaTurtleTrek Update – Now With Even More Turtles!

It was a busy night for our #SeaTurtleTrek-kers!

After leaving Baltimore last night, the caravan had two more stops to make before finally heading onto Florida for the big release!

The first stop at Virginia Aquarium happened around midnight. Staff from Virginia Aquarium were on hand to transfer even more precious cargo into the cars.

Late night pick-up at Virginia Aquarium. Photo via Jenn Dittmar

Late night pick-up at Virginia Aquarium. Photo via Jenn Dittmar

After the turtles were loaded up in Virginia, the team continued on (driving through the night) until they reached South Carolina Aquarium early this morning to gather the remaining turtles ready for release!

The caravan continued on straight through South Carolina and Georgia! They’re now pretty close to the release site in Jacksonville, Florida. Upon arrival in Florida, they will be doing health samples on each of the turtles and then it will FINALLY be time for release!

Stay tuned for more updates from this morning’s release! 

#SeaTurtleTrek Update – And They’re Off!

The team from New England Aquarium arrived in Baltimore this evening ready to pick up our rehabilitated sea turtles and journey onto Florida for release!

Chet, a Kemp's ridley turtle, is ready to go on his adventure!

Chet, a Kemp’s ridley turtle, is ready to go on his adventure!

As we continue to travel down the East Coast, more turtles from our organization partners are being slated for release! Our teams will be making additional stops at Virginia Aquarium and South Carolina Aquarium to pick up additional turtles.

Members of our MARP team prepping Biff, a green sea turtle, for the trip!

Members of our MARP team prepping Biff, a green sea turtle, for the trip!

Prior to New England’s arrival, our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team did final examinations of each turtle, placed them in their respective transport crates and covered them in a water-based lubricant to keep the turtles happy and feeling good during the 1,200 mile trek down to Jacksonville, Florida.

Once the crew from New England Aquarium arrived, our team quickly packed up the turtles and hit the road!

Once the crew from New England Aquarium arrived, our team quickly packed up the turtles and hit the road!

Want to see where the team is on their journey? Follow their live updates on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr and Instagram using #SeaTurtleTrek  and/or check out this satellite map that’s tracking their progress:

Click on this map to pull up the trek's current geo-location!

Click on this map to pull up the trek’s current geo-location!

Stay tuned for more #SeaTurtleTrek updates from the road! 

Follow 50 Rescue Turtles on their #SeaTurtleTrek to Florida!


This Saturday, our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team will join New England Aquarium, Virginia Aquarium, University of New England, National Marine Life Center and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in releasing close to 50 rescue turtles off the coast of Florida.

During this historic season of cold-stun cases in the Northeast, all of our organizations have been working diligently to rehabilitate more than 100 of these endangered animals. We’re happy to report that our collective efforts have resulted in the upcoming release of approximately half of our current sea turtle patients!

Because the water temperature in our area is still far too cold for these turtles, our MARP team and staff from New England Aquarium will be making the joint trek down the coast to a warmed location in northern Florida to make the release!

We’re inviting YOU to follow the Sea Turtle Trek as our team makes this 1,200 mile journey along the East Coast! We’ll be providing updates here on our blog and on Twitter (to follow Twitter updates from both of our teams, use the hastag #seaturtletrek)!

Meet our turtles!
We have three sea turtles here at National Aquarium that will be released this weekend – Chet, Biff and Two-Bit! The theme this year for naming our patients was the “Brat Pack,” so staff gathered names from some of their favorite 80’s movies that best fit the personalities of our patients.

Stay tuned for more #SeaTurtleTrek updates! 

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! 

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