Care Center has one of the State’s deepest turtle-exclusive dive pools
Tampa, FL – The Florida Aquarium officially opened its $4.1 million Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach today. The two story, 19,000-square-foot center features five different rehabilitation pools including one of the state’s deepest turtle-exclusive dive pool with observation window.
“We rescue sea turtles from around Florida and beyond, but during winter months, there is a growing need for more animal care facilities to rehabilitate cold stunned sea turtles,” said The Florida Aquarium President and CEO Roger Germann. “This center is opening at the right time, and The Florida Aquarium will be able to dramatically increase the number of sea turtles it cares for during the year.”
The pools at the new care center range in size from 1,500 to 25,000-gallons. The sea turtle dive pool, which reaches a depth of 11-feet, will be used to assess buoyancy issues, swim conditioning and food trials before turtles are cleared by FWC to be returned back into the wild.
The center also includes a state-of-the-art sea turtle surgery suite.
“We believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment and the animals that depend on it, and this investment will only help us further our mission of protecting and restoring our fragile Blue Planet,” Germann added.
The Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center was made possible through a unique public-private partnership consisting of groups who all shared the same common goal of working to achieve and maintain healthy sea turtle populations. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), contributed $3 million, The Spurlino Foundation and others donated $690,000, The Florida Aquarium contributed more than $400,000 and TECO Energy helped make the center a reality through a generous land use agreement.
“We are grateful to continue to expand our partnership with such a world class facility like The Florida Aquarium,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “We look forward to further work together on sea turtle conservation, coral research and more.”
The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team, that manages sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts, has recently been expanded, thanks to a $250,000 grant from Florida Blue.
Since opening its door, The Florida Aquarium has helped rescue and rehab more than 150 threatened or endangered turtles. The Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center will only ensure that number grows.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Roughly 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida’s beaches.
- There are seven different species of sea turtles including Flatback, Green, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley.
- Of the six sea turtle species found in U.S. waters or that nest on U.S. Beaches, all are designated as either threatened or endangered.
- Some sea turtles can live up to 50-years or longer.
- Leatherback sea turtles can travel more than 10,000 miles every year.
- Green sea turtles can stay underwater for up to five hours.
About The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution whose mission is to entertain, educate andinspire stewardship about our natural environment. It has been voted a Top 3 Aquarium in North America by the readers of USA Today (May 2018), it’s earned a Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Rating (2018). The Florida Aquarium has also earned a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and been awarded a platinum rating from GuideStar.
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Florida Blue grant to support healthy marine ecosystems
Tampa, Fl. August 9, 2018- A team of Florida Aquarium scientists and divers just returned after spending 15 days in the Florida Keys for a coral spawn. The team collected 150,000 coral gametes (coral eggs and sperm) during the coral spawn that only happens once a year after a full moon. The team fertilized the eggs and then released thousands back into the wild. The remaining fertilized eggs, or embryos, are being distributed to The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation, Georgia Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and Nova Southeastern University to continue research and to grow the coral for a future release.
This comes at a critical time since Florida is in the middle of the largest coral disease outbreak ever recorded, which is rapidly killing 20 different species of coral in the Florida Keys. The staghorn coral species, the primary species that was collected during the coral spawn, is not at immediate threat from the disease. However, it is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists are trying to figure out what's causing the outbreak and how to stop it. The outbreak makes the work on reproducing corals even more important because it’s necessary to raise their offspring.
“This work is more critical than ever due to the current disease outbreak in the Florida Keys,” said Keri O’Neil, Coral Nursery Manager for The Florida Aquarium. “These laboratory fertilization techniques can be used to save many coral species in the future.”
O’Neil believes practicing the techniques could restock Florida's damaged reefs with the corals raised in the laboratory at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach. The lab already houses corals collected from last year’s spawn that will be celebrating their one year birthday and will be released back into the ocean later this year.
The gametes were collected from the Coral Restoration Foundation Coral Nursery, with the work conducted by permit from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The team worked with several partners including the Keys Marine Laboratory, Coral Restoration Foundation, Nova Southeastern University, University of Florida, South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation (SEZARC), Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sea World, Georgia Aquarium, and Horniman Museum and Gardens.
“I think it’s a really good example of the strengths in partnerships that The Florida Aquarium has formed to help save coral reefs,” said O’Neil.
***B-Roll of the Coral Spawn from Underwater Photographers:
More on The Florida Aquarium:
- Voted a Top 3 Aquarium in North America by the readers of USA Today (May 2018)
- Earned Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Rating (2018)
- Earned a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator (2018)
Additional information on Coral:
- Corals are not plants, they're actually animals.
- Called “the rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs only take up about 2% of the ocean floor, but host about 25% of all ocean species.
- Coral reefs grow very slowly, at an average rate of just two centimeters per year.
- Each individual coral is known as a polyp.
- The annual synchronized spawning of corals is a spectacular event.
- This mass reproduction only happens once a year.
- It involves colonies and species of coral polyps simultaneously releasing tiny egg and sperm bundles into the water.
Exciting news here at SeaWorld - - I wanted to share it with those of you who have partnered with me through the years, on our mission to care for this beautiful planet. Your support is appreciated, as together we can inspire the next generation of ocean protectors.
Over the past 50 years, SeaWorld has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of marine animals and protect the health of our oceans. We have forged new partnerships, made strides in research to improve the health and habitats of wild animals, developed cutting edge animal rehabilitation programs and emerged as one of the leading animal rescue organizations in the United States. We have also added amazing entertainment, attractions and experiences – all with the goal of ensuring every guest interaction with SeaWorld is both fun and meaningful.
This past weekend we launched SeaWorld’s new Park to Planet commercial spot on the world’s biggest stage, the NBC Winter Games.
Park to Planet is a way to give a voice to the great work SeaWorld and its partners are doing to make a difference for the planet. Through Park to Planet, we want to inspire others to join our shared mission to save the animals and the oceans we all call home. Every visit to our parks makes a difference and helps to support our wider animal rescue (over 31,000 rescued!) and conservation efforts.
Please also visit parktoplanet.com where we encourage you to learn more and share details on our mission and work.
Thank you for your support!
Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is not your typical aquarium. Located on Clearwater’s Island Estates, the establishment works as an animal hospital with the mission of the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine life.
The story of the rescue and rehabilitation of Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s permanent residents Winter and Hope, both Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, has inspired millions around the world through the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2.
Winter was found stranded in Mosquito Lagoon, near Cape Canaveral, Florida when she was only two months old, entangled in a crab trap line which cut off circulation to her tail flukes. After disentanglement, she was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for treatment of her extensive injuries. However, despite exhaustive efforts to promote healing, her tail deteriorated and could not be saved. Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., together with CMA staff, created a unique plan to attach a prosthetic tail to Winter.
Her story has inspired millions around the world with the message of perseverance and hope. People relate to the strength it takes to overcome obstacles, as brave animals exemplify that every day. By inviting guests to see firsthand how CMA cares for these animals, they create powerful experiences that can change lives and make a difference.
CMA staff and volunteers work each day to rescue marine life and provide the most advanced and effective care to maximize the opportunity to return sick or injured animals to their homes. The animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium arrive because they are suffering from an illness or severe injury.
Once an animal arrives at CMA, a team of experienced staff biologists, veterinarians and volunteers create a rehabilitation plan specifically developed based on its injury or illness, with the goal of returning it to the wild.
Sometimes the injuries are so severe, or the animal is so young, that it would not be in the animal’s best interest to release it back into the wild. CMA works with agencies such as National Marine Fisheries and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make these decisions. If the animal is unable to be released back into the wild, it becomes a permanent member of the CMA family, and lives there to serve as an ambassador for its species to help promote environmental conservation.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Education Department is dedicated to inspiring guests of all ages to appreciate the marine environment while promoting conservation. The team strives to develop an understanding for the irreplaceable value of all marine life. By teaching children and adults the importance of conservation, ecology and stewardship, CMA believes they will apply this knowledge to make sustainable choices and take an active part in preserving the marine environment.
Vanishing baby pelicans - Conjoined whale calves - Melting sea stars - Mutant butterflies
Could Drifting Nuclear Radiation from Japan be the Cause of Biological Weirdnesses in the US?
Observers in Japan say the disabled Fukushima nuclear power plant is still pumping tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean more than 1000 days after being damaged by a 45-foot tsunami on March 11, 2011. US officials insist that no increase in radioactivity from the Japanese disaster has been detected in US monitoring stations. However, environmental scientists are noting an increase of inexplicable biological weirdnesses in marine life along Americas West Coast.
According to a recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the number of deceased sea creatures on the floor of the Pacific is higher than it has ever been since monitoring of the sea floor began 24 years ago.
- Currently, the ongoing melting sea star epidemic has been seen off the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Canada. The disintegrating sea stars have yet to be explained.
- In February, scientists analyzing kelp off the coast of San Diego discovered the presence of cesium, a radioactive isotope that is linked to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
- In addition, scientists discovered the first ever documented case of conjoined gray whale calves off the West Coast of Mexico.
- The cause of a drastic plunge in baby California pelicans, from 1,000s to 10 or less, is also unknown.
- Mutant butterflies have been created by Fukushima radiation, said Japanese scientists.
Ocean radiation seems to be killing marine life forms along Americas coast and the potential danger to human health is not being reported by mainstream media, said health educators Carl and Jhoane Robinson.
The Robinsons said that as ocean water evaporates into the air and is blown inland, it will rain down on people, animals, and crops in California and the Western US. West Coast produce exposed to radioactive molecules will be shipped to grocery stores across the nation. In such a scenario, the implication for our national health is not encouraging: According to the National Academy of Sciences, any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how slight, increases cancer risk.
How you can boost your immune system and protect your body from radiation:
Sufficient levels of the mineral iodine in the thyroid tissues can prevent the uptake of harmful radioiodine molecules. Restoring low iodine levels to normal typically rejuvenates the entire immune system, especially the bodys ability to isolate and eliminate radioactive contaminants.
ABOUT CARL AND JHOANE ROBINSON
Carl and Jhoane (Joan) Robinson are health educators and co-founders of liquid dietary supplement manufacturer Cedar Bear Naturales.
A clinical & formulary herbalist and nutritional therapist with a Master of Herbology in herbal pharmacognosy and pharmacology, Carl has been an insider to the herbal products industry for 30 years and was involved in passage of State legislation that in turn became the template for the Federal governments Dietary Supplements Health Education Act of 1984 (1984 D.S.H.E.A.). He is also the author of numerous White Papers and published works and educational courses on herbs and natural health.
Jhoane is a traditional herbalist, yoga instructor & meditation facilitator and organic gardener and the former lead writer for a nationally distributed herb journal and natural health newsletter. She is the daughter of an MD internist who co-founded the largest medical clinic in the northwest and was inflicted with a disabling auto-immune condition at an early age, which she overcame utilizing natural holistic means.
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Having created the Casa Dorada Sanctuary Project back in 2008 and working together with other local entities, the resort has dedicated significant financial and human resources to ensuring that adequate measures are in place to safeguard nests, protect eggs and eventually successfully release baby turtles into the sea.
Every late summer and fall, guests staying at Casa Dorada are fortunate to witness the arrival of female turtles on the beach right in front of the resort to lay their eggs. Then, 6 to 9 weeks later baby turtles are born making their way to the sea for the very first time, offering one of nature’s most touching spectacles. The most common turtle species encountered in Los Cabos is the olive ridley, whose regular nesting period is from July to October, while the release of baby turtles usually takes place in September and October.
Casa Dorada and its turtle conservation efforts To date, the Casa Dorada Sanctuary Project has protected more than 160,000 turtle eggs and released nearly 140,000 offspring into the sea. These efforts have helped in making the Cabo San Lucas Bay and Los Cabos a vitally important nesting area for the olive ridley.
Local involvement In order to continue protecting turtles in the area, regional governments have created The Los Cabos Sea Turtle Conservation Program. In 2005 many of the community’s hotels, resorts, restaurants, and organizations have joined in, creating The Los Cabos Sea Turtle Protection Network. In 2008, Casa Dorada was officially added to this strategic coalition. Later, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources granted the hotel federal permission to establish a working nursery for the safekeeping of olive ridley eggs, a privilege only a handful of institutions in the Southern Baja have enjoyed.
About Casa Dorada With an incomparable location on Medano Beach--the best swimmable beach of Cabo, Casa Dorada is just steps away from world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and the marina. As a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a collection of the world’s finest independent luxury hotels, Casa Dorada Los Cabos brings the upscale service and family-friendly features to the Cabo San Lucas oceanfront. The Resort grants visitors a more convenient, yet equally spectacular, alternative to the more remote hotel zone of the Tourist Corridor. Boasting unobstructed vistas of Land’s End and the famous Arch, Casa Dorada is just 30 minutes away from Los Cabos International Airport. All of the 185 spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and penthouses, open up to Los Cabos’ most dazzling ocean view, while the luminous and contemporary interiors ensure your comfort and satisfaction.