2016 Recap: Animal Rescue

It was a busy year for our Animal Rescue program as the team worked to rescue, rehabilitate and release multiple animals, all while celebrating the program’s 25th anniversary! Take a look back on some of the year’s biggest stories:

Published December 21, 2016


In early March, Megatron, a male harbor seal, stranded on Bethany Beach, Delaware. He was later transported to the Aquarium for care. During his three months of rehabilitation, our Animal Rescue team treated him for dehydration, emaciation, and skin lesions consistent with seal pox. Our team worked relentlessly to prepare for his release in mid-May.

Megatron was released in Ocean City, Maryland as a crowd of well-wishers bid him a fond farewell! As soon as he met the water’s edge, he quickly shuffled back into the waves.

25th Anniversary of the Aquarium's Animal Rescue Programcougar-shell-surgery

This year the Animal Rescue program celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Aquarium! Founded in 1991, the Animal Rescue team has helped rescue, rehabilitate and release 173 animals. During its 25 years of operation, the team has cared for sea turtles, seals, manatees and even a pygmy sperm whale. Each animal’s care looks a little different, but the ultimate goal is to release every animal back into its natural environment.

2016-2017 Animal Rescue Season sea-turtle-exam

Our Animal Rescue team is already busy caring for sea turtles as colder weather is upon us. Currently there are 21 turtles in our care, most suffering from cold-stunning, which refers to the health problems that develop when sea turtles are exposed to cold water temperatures for a long time. Cold-stunning often causes poor circulation, pneumonia and bone infections. The turtles will be cared for until they are well enough to thrive in the wild.

Stay tuned for more updates about our Animal Rescue program as we move into 2017!

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Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

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Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

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