Posts Tagged 'ocean city'



Counting dolphins

It’s the annual dolphin count! Tomorrow, July 16, members of the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will be along the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, counting dolphins. Staff and volunteers will spend a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out data sheets.  Teams will be stationed on the beaches at 40th Street and 130th Street and at Assateague State Park. There will also be a vessel-based team aboard an Ocean City Coast Guard boat.

Why are we counting dolphins? Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gather long-term information about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding and feeding along the way.  Looking at population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem, as well as the abundance of prey. With your help, we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast.

There are two ways to join in the fun: 1. Find us on the beach! If you are in the Ocean City area tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon, look for our Aquarium teams in blue at 40th Street and 130th Street. Bring your binoculars and help us count dolphins. 2. Enter our dolphin count contest! Think you know how many dolphins we will spot tomorrow? Text “count” and your guess to 30644 and you could win a pair of tickets to the Aquarium. (Msg and data rates apply.) The contest will end at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. The official count and winners will be announced here, so please check back.

Good luck and happy counting!

Rare whale sightings in Maryland

Visitors to the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, have been treated to some rare and interesting sightings recently. Our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) has received several reports of large whales feeding very close to shore over the last week, which makes for great viewing while on vacation.

The whale in the photograph below has been identified as a humpback whale and was spotted at 42nd Street in Ocean City on June 18. The picture was provided courtesy of Jennifer and Steve Gower.

Our MARP staff members have been fielding a lot of questions about these sightings, so we’d like to share some important information:

As you can see from the picture, the whale is very close to the shore. The Mid-Atlantic coast is a popular destination for migrating marine mammals (dolphins, whales, seals or manatees) and sea turtles, but recently these animals are coming much closer to land.

Why is that? Large whales, like most marine animals, tend to congregate in areas where food is plentiful. Recently, large schools of Atlantic menhaden have been spotted along the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Delaware. As a result of this, there have been several big pods of dolphins, and even large whales spotted very close to shore feeding on the menhaden; at times there have even been reports of dolphins and large whales feeding in the same area together – what an exciting sight!

Continue reading ‘Rare whale sightings in Maryland’

Rescued, rehabbed and released

Last week, Hastings, a rescued harbor seal, was successfully returned to sea! With thousands watching—on the beach and through live coverage on WMAR-TV (Ch 2. in Baltimore) —Hastings made his way back to his ocean home on Thursday, May 13. He had spent four months under the care of our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) to recover from a wound under his front flipper and some other medical conditions. Watch a video of the release: 

Hastings was the 83rd animal released by the National Aquarium. He was fitted with a satellite tracking tag so we can track and monitor his progress,  and help scientists understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals. As of today he was in the Delaware Bay, headed North! Check it out!

MARP has nursed many stranded marine animals back to health, caring for them around the clock to get them back on their flippers or fins. But these animals need your help. Food, medicine and equipment can cost up to $200 per day for one animal. Simply stated, your gift will enable us to keep providing life saving medical treatment to some of the world’s most treasured animals, just like Hastings! Click here to donate today.

Rescued harbor seal is going home

Hastings strandingThis juvenile male harbor seal was stranded along the Atlantic coast of Maryland, in the town of Ocean City, on January 15, 2010. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) responded, and the seal was admitted to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Upon admission, the seal was underweight, severely dehydrated, mildly emaciated, and medically compromised due to a wound behind the left front flipper. In addition to the wound, he was found to have an upper respiratory infection and a mild case of pneumonia at the time of being admitted for rehab.

The seal, called Hastings, was treated with antibiotics for several weeks, and his wound was treated every three days for two weeks. Hastings responded well to treatment and was soon interacting with enrichment devices, the animal equivalent of toys, and eagerly eating. While in rehab, Hastings gained nearly 20 pounds on a daily diet of herring and capelin. He is offered enrichment items to interact with, like frozen fishcicles and a holey bucket with fish inside, to encourage natural feeding behaviors.

Hastings

Tomorrow morning, a healthy Hastings will be returned to Ocean City for release back to his natural environment. The release is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., and will be broadcast live locally on WMAR-TV (Ch. 2).

Follow the Aquarium on Twitter (@NatlAquarium) for live tweets from the release, starting at 5 a.m. tomorrow.

Prior to release, MARP staff will affix a satellite transmitter to his fur, which will fall off when the seal molts (similar to when a dog sheds its fur). The transmitter will allow us to track and monitor the animal post-release, and will help scientists to understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals.

Released loggerhead turtle travels on!

The Maryland Coast Dispatch, a local paper in Ocean City, Maryland, has reported that three deceased loggerhead turtles were found on the beaches of Ocean City last weekend. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recovered the turtles and biologists are currently  investigating each turtle for cause of death. We want to assure our followers that Flight and Release, the loggerhead turtle released by the National Aquarium at Assateague State Park in September, is not one of these turtles.Turtle in Water for blog

Flight and Release is being tracked through a satelite tag that was affixed to its shell prior to release. We are happy to report that the turtle has traveled over 130 miles since being released from the beach at Assateague. As of October 1st, the turtle was swimming off the coast of Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake.  You can track the turtle’s journey here

Marine animals strandings and recoveries are not uncommon along the coastal areas of Maryland. If the animal is alive, the National Aquarium responds to examine see if rescue and rehabilitation is needed.  The DNR responds when dead marine animals wash ashore and conduct research to determine a cause of death. The DNR maintains a 24-hour hotline that connects to Maryland Natural Resource Police (NRP) for private citizens who find sick, injured or deceased marine mammals on the beach. The number to call is 1-800-628-9944.

Click here to see more pictures of Flight and Release!

Counting dolphins

The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program is hosting Maryland’s annual dolphin count tomorrow, 019Friday the 17th, along the coast of Ocean City! Staff and volunteers will spend a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out data sheets.  The teams will be stationed on the beaches at 40th street and 130th street and at Assateague State Park. There will also be a vessel based team aboard an Ocean City Coast Guard boat.

Think you know how many dolphins we will spot tomorrow? Text “dolphin” and your guess to 30644 and you could win a pair of tickets to the Aquarium! The contest will end at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. The official count and winners will be announced here so please check back Friday afternoon. Good luck!

Why are we counting dolphins? Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gather long-term information about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding, and feeding along the way.  Looking at population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem as well as the abundance of prey.  With your help we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast.

MARP to the rescue!

On July 27 our Marine Animal Rescue Program team took in a stranded female loggerhead sea turtle found near the inlet in Ocean City, Maryland by the Coast Guard. The turtle was observed floating near a rock jetty – in the surf headed for the rocks. The Coast Guard retrieved the turtle after noticing signs of exhaustion and failed attempts to swim away. She was transported to the Aquarium’s hospital pool in Baltimore later then evening.

Upon arrival she weighed 57 lbs, which is about 10-15 lbs under normal weight. The most interesting observation of the turtle was that she was covered in all kinds of epibionts (mussels, barnacles, algae, crabs, worms, etc.) upon retrieval, as you can see in the before and after pictures. The rescue team removed about 10 lbs of epibionts from the poor turtle. She also had many embedded barnacles on the carapace, plastron, limbs and head and has suffered superficial scale loss on all limbs.

» Continue reading ‘MARP to the rescue!’


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