Virginia Aquarium Responds to High Number of Beached Dolphins - July 31, 2013
(Virginia Beach, VA) The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has responded to a higher number of dead and dying bottlenose dolphins than is typical along the Chesapeake Bay, this time of year. No cause for these deaths has been uncovered as yet, but the Stranding Response Team is working with the NOAA Fisheries to investigate the cause(s).
The Stranding Response Team picks up an average of 99 marine mammals during a calendar year, 64 of which are bottlenose dolphins. Thus far in 2013 they have responded to 82 dolphins, with 44 in July alone. The average number of dolphin strandings for July is 7. Many of the animals are too decomposed to offer much information, but samples from several fresher animals have been collected and will be analyzed. Unfortunately, it can take some time for results and even then, they may be inconclusive.
The most recent strandings appear to be almost exclusively males, of all ages and sizes. The Stranding Response Team is receiving offers of help from other members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Some of the dolphins will be sent for further examination to North Carolina. Extra stranding network personnel will be used to assist the Aquarium’s team with responses and necropsies (animal autopsies).
Stranding Response staff are working to collect dolphins from the populated beaches as quickly as possible, but warn the public, as with any dead wild animal, do not touch and please wash hands thoroughly if you come in contact with a stranded animal. Residents are asked to call the Stranding Response 24-hour hotline at 757-385-7575 with the exact location of any stranded or dead dolphin, and to be patient as they may not be able to respond immediately.
The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program’s mission is to promote the conservation of marine animal species through stranding response, research, rehabilitation and education. It is largely a volunteer-based group operating from the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center in Virginia Beach. The program is supported by the Virginia Aquarium Foundation through donations from the community, and grant-making organizations. To report a dead or live stranded marine mammal or sea turtle call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575
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Virginia Aquarium Birds “Tweeting” About New Enclosure! - July 24, 2013
There’s tweeting and then there’s real tweeting that’s done by live birds. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center aviary staff is convinced the latter is happening more frequently now that the collection of 78 birds has been relocated back to its newly refurbished home. The original Aviary netting, which was 18 years old, was replaced with durable stainless steel coil mesh.
“Tearing down the old netting and installing the new one took four months but it was worth the wait,” said Curator of Birds Crystal Matthews. “The new netting has a smaller mesh so it will allow us to expand our native bird collection to green herons and smaller shorebirds. Resident great horned owl “Owlex” also gained a taller enclosure which gives her a higher perch on which to rest.”
In the spirit of the Aquarium’s mission of sustainability, the old netting that was salvageable was donated to Lisa Barlow, a city, state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator and former local president of Wildlife Response. Matthews said, “The aviary staff works closely with Barlow so she was the ideal choice for this donation. They really appreciated it and with the wire and netting they are able to build new enclosures for the various animals that they or others rescue.”
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Stranding Response Team to Release Rehabiliated Turtles - July 09, 2013
(Virginia Beach, VA) –As the saying goes, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” So perhaps this Thursday, when two ice-cream-flavor-named green sea turtles are released at First Landing State Park at 11 a.m., the crowd will cheer for them and the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team who rescued and rehabilitated them.