Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Stranding Team has started off the new year with multiple stranding responses! These responses have involved an array of species including waterfowl, sea turtles, manatees, and even two deceased dolphins. Both deceased dolphins were discovered in Citrus County, one of the six counties that make up CMA’s designated response area. The first deceased dolphin was a Code 2, also referred to as a “fresh dead.” Due to the fact that the animal was in great body condition, the animal was immediately responded to and transported by our excellent Stranding Team members to the University of Florida, to be necropsied by our very own Dr. Mike Walsh. As for the second deceased dolphin, it was a Code 4 (i.e. “advanced decomposition”) and thus not necropsied. However, our Stranding Team members diligently collected documentation and photographs of the animal, to assist with research and further our understanding on cetacean strandings in the Gulf of Mexico. A huge thanks to all who assisted with our many stranding responses in the months of January and February! In regards to Stranding Team trainings, all of our workshops have been opened up to ALL of CMA’s staff, volunteers, and interns! In January, we kicked off the workshop series with “CMA’s Stranding Team Introduction” and “Equipment and Sanitation” workshop. These workshops reviewed our 2012 accomplishments, 2013 goals, volunteer responsibilities, stranding equipment, and the protocols for sanitation and quarantine. Thanks to all who attended and we encourage everyone to participate in future workshops!

In other news, we have also been working very hard towards streamlining CMA’s Stranding Team training, qualifications, and responsibilities. We are happy to say that we have had a large amount of support and positive feedback from our members! Thanks to you all and we look forward to the many accomplishments that will surely be achieved by our hardworking, positive, dedicated Stranding Team in the year 2013!

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