One Year at the Animal Care and Rescue Center!

It’s been a busy and exciting year since the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center official opened its doors!

Published May 21, 2019

The more-than-50,000-square-foot Animal Care and Rescue Center is located in the heart of Baltimore’s historic Jonestown neighborhood, less than a mile up the road from the Aquarium. Over the past year, the Center has provided a home to off-exhibit animals, quarantined animals and the rescue seals that come into our care!

One of the most well-known residents of the Center this past year is a pig-nosed turtle nicknamed Funzo. Funzo has been with the National Aquarium since 2002, but has been off-exhibit since 2011. Funzo prefers more of an independent environment, and his pool at the Center gives him just that—a quiet space away from the busy exhibit habitats. Since Animal Care and Rescue Center tours began with National Aquarium members, Funzo has become a guest favorite!

Another of the Center’s turtle residents is a broad-shelled turtle nicknamed Meatball. Meatball originally came to the Aquarium in 2014 and briefly resided in Australia: Wild Extremes. She was moved off exhibit because staff noticed that she was not getting along with her neighbors. Similar to Funzo, Meatball resides in a solitary area at the Center, where staff can easily monitor her behavior. While Meatball resides in the Center right now, husbandry staff believe that she may be moved back on exhibit in the future.

Meatball the broad-shelled turtle

The Center is home to more than just turtles! One of the most well-known animals in the building is a map pufferfish nicknamed Duncan. Duncan originally resided in Blacktip Reef, but was moved off exhibit when staff realized he had an appetite for artificial coral! Just like Funzo and Meatball, Duncan has been a favorite among guests who have toured the Animal Care and Rescue Center.

The state-of-the-art Center has also served as the headquarters for National Aquarium Animal Rescue over the past year. When seals are rescued from local shores, they are brought to the Center and are housed in one of two seal rehabilitation suites, which are equipped with both pools and space for the seals to spend out of the water. The suites are designed to allow Animal Rescue staff to feed the seals, provide them with enrichment, evaluate behavior, provide life-saving treatment and more.

Shortly after opening last year, a harbor seal nicknamed Marmalade became the first seal to complete rehabilitation at the Center and was quickly joined by a grey seal nicknamed Lox. Since then, Animal Rescue has successfully rehabilitated and released two harp seals, Marie Tharp and Sally Ride. Three other seals—nicknamed Edwin Hubble, George Washington Carver and Albert Einstein—are currently housed in the Center’s seal suites and working towards completing rehabilitation!

Learn more about the Animal Care and Rescue Center!

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