On October 19th, 1997, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) responded to a stranded mother and calf pair on Belleair Shores, Florida. The mother, Autumn, exhibited an external wound on her pectoral fin, likely a result from a rope injury. Her calf, Harvey, was estimated to be between 3-12 months old and healthy. However, due to his young age, he was transported with Autumn for rehabilitation at CMA. After about 6 months in rehabilitation, the animals were deemed releasable and were released on April 17th, 1998 on Clearwater Beach, Florida. In addition to freeze branding, Autumn was satellite tagged to track their movements after release. She was tracked for a total of 152 days, traveling off of the central west coast of Florida! Yet another success story thanks to the hard work and dedication of CMA’s Stranding Team.

Check out the captivating footage of our most recent stranding response HERE, which involved a live Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with significant shark bite wounds. The animal was triaged on-site per instruction by our veterinarian, but had unfortunately deceased shortly after stranding. The animal was immediately transported to the University of Florida for a full post-mortem examination, referred to as a necropsy. These examinations can further our understanding on cause of stranding/death, as well as life history, physiology, diseases, and more. Ultimately, this information can contribute to the conservation of these animals. Thanks to all who were involved in this response!
***Due to the graphic nature of this video, viewer’s discretion is advised***
Posted in Stranding

Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Stranding Team welcomes the summer with many exciting events! So far, we have responded to multiple live and deceased sea turtles (i.e. Green, Loggerhead, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles).

In regards to marine mammals, our team has been involved in the monitoring of several manatee-mating herds in Clearwater area. Great job to all our members who have participated in these stranding calls! In addition to stranding calls, a few of our members have also had the unique opportunity to participate in two different necropsy workshops led by experts in the field (photos attached). The first workshop took place at the FWCC Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory in St. Petersburg, which covered sea turtle necropsies. Members were able to learn and assist with collecting documentation, photographs, and samples on over 80 sea turtle carcasses! The second workshop took place at the EPA National Health & Environmental Effects Research Laboratory in Gulf Breeze, Florida, which covered cetacean necropsies. After an 8-hour trek, our members were able to learn and even conduct their own necropsy! The best part of both workshops, was learning the importance of responding to deceased stranded animals and how it contributes to marine mammal research and conservation.

In other news, you may have noticed that the Stranding Hallway at the aquarium is a bit bare now. That is because all stranding equipment and supplies have been moved to the new Critical Care Facility! Although still in the process of outfitting this state of the art facility, we are already excited about its future contributions to CMA’s stranding efforts.

Thanks to all of our Stranding Team members for their passion, dedication, and hard work!

Posted in Stranding
CMA

Hello everyone!

Cheers to the last week of June! This past week in strandings we responded to two sea turtles, both of which were deceased. Additionally, we have been receiving multiple calls from the public concerned with “stranded” manatees, aka manatee mating herds. All calls were verified via our first responders/photo confirmation, to ensure that the animals were healthy and safe.

Aside from our traditional calls, we had quite the adventure with a false dolphin call! Early Friday evening, we received a call from an individual who spotted a possible mother and calf dolphin pair, stranded on Caladesi Island. The Stranding Team immediately rounded up their first responders and rescue materials, and made their way to the scene. The team was dispatched into two groups; one headed to the stranding scene via truck from North Clearwater Beach and the other one via a ferry from Honeymoon Island. After arriving on scene, it was determined that the dolphins were actually a herd of manatees mating in the shallows! It was a relief to confirm no animal was in danger and the response was excellent practice for our Stranding Team staff, interns, and volunteers. Thank you so much to everyone who helped in this response and made themselves available! The event ended with a beautiful rainbow (see photo below).

Posted in Stranding
CMA