20 Years and Counting of Virginia’s Coastline Dolphins - July 24, 2012
WHO: Known as among Virginia Beach’s most popular visitors is the bottlenose dolphin. Around 50 volunteers from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team, who have received special training, will be counting them from the shore.
WHAT: One summer Saturday, usually the end of July, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center conducts its annual Dolphin Count.
WHEN: Saturday, July 28, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon
WHERE: Volunteers spread out over several observation posts along beaches of the lower Chesapeake Bay and southern Virginia coastline.*
WHY: The annual count gives Virginia Aquarium researchers an idea of the relative abundance of dolphins in Virginia waters. More importantly, it provides a picture of dolphin distribution and identifies the coastal habitat areas where they are most concentrated. This is important when addressing resource management and conservation issues. Both state and federal agencies have used the Aquarium’s research on dolphins when making decisions on projects that impact the coastal marine environment.
*Media is advised to go to the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier at 15th St. for interviews of team members and see pier guests’ reactions to the count.
“Sea Cows” Venture Here - July 12, 2012
(Virginia Beach, VA) It’s not unusual for dolphins to flock to the Virginia Beach coastline in the summer but the warmer waters may also attract another marine mammal - manatees. These rotund, vegetarian, slow-moving creatures, who have earned the name of sea cows, are currently migrating up the East Coast and are particularly vulnerable to hazards.
In Virginia, manatees can be found in tributaries, inlets, bays, and marinas as they pause for a quick snack. Manatees feed on sea grasses and algae so they may be found close to piers, docks, and docked boats. Because they spend so much time on the surface, they are susceptible to being hit by boats.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center reminds citizens that manatees are protected under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act which means that when sighted they must be enjoyed from a distance and never fed or harassed. If seen locally, please call the Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team immediately, (757) 385-7575. Manatees can actually be identified by the scars on their backs from unfortunate encounters with boat propellers. If you can do so safely, and from a distance, please photograph the animal, note its size as well as any unique markings, and send this information to the Stranding Response Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Aquarium Offers Free Admission for “Superheroes” - July 12, 2012
(Virginia Beach, VA) - The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center will offer free admission between 9 and 10 a.m. only on July 16th for kids and adults in superhero costumes (no masks, please). The event kicks off the Aquarium’s showing of The Dark Knight Rises, which opens at midnight (Thursday/Friday) on July 20th. Costume participants will be eligible for a drawing which offers four admission tickets to the movie.
The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG13, so the Aquarium will have afternoon and evening shows on its six-story IMAX® screen. For showtimes and ticket purchases, visit VirginiaAquarium.com.
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The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard, just south of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach. For more information on exhibits, movies, boat rides and special events call (757) 385-FISH (3474), (TDD 711) or visit VirginiaAquarium.com.