Last month CMA’s Stranding Team has responded to several stranding calls, including a distressed manatee with extensive boat-related injuries, four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that had become trapped within a small bay during low tide, and even a few sea turtles! The manatee rescue entailed a collaboration between FWC’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology laboratory and CMA’s Stranding Team. Via our combined efforts, we were able to successfully conduct a boat rescue and transport the manatee, with CMA’s stranding van, to Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation. Unfortunately the manatee’s health status did not progress, and therefore he passed away.

As for the trapped dolphins we responded to, fortunately they all swam back out of the bay on the evening high tide, to everyone’s relief! They even made front-page news in a local newspaper! Additionally, CMA’s Stranding Team had the amazing opportunity to assists CMA’s Sea Turtle department by responding to two live Kemp Ridley turtles that had ingested fishing hooks. Fortunately, Dr. Walsh was able to remove the fishing hook and line from one of the animals and the other animal also had the hook successfully removed upon arrival at the aquarium.

We also have named our stranding boat (drum roll please….) “Tail Force One!” Thank you to all of the Stranding Team Members for all the great names that were submitted!

We have also been continuing with our workshop series, the latest being Marine Mammal Rehabilitation! All agreed it was an interesting and insightful workshop that evoked much discussion. Attendees even got to take part in an exciting activity, carrying out morphometrics on Winter and Hope. Thanks to all of our trainers for their help with this workshop!

As always, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated and passionate Stranding Team Members for all of their hard work! We are excited to see what next month has in store!

River otters are often times mistaken for sea otters, but why? River otters do live in and around both fresh and salt water, however there are easy ways to identify the two species apart. First, river otters are commonly seen moving in and out of the water and are able to easily move around on land, versus sea otters that spend almost their entire life in water and are clumsy on land. Second, when in the water river otters commonly swim belly down, versus sea otters who swim belly up. Third, river otters are much smaller than their cousin the sea otter. Lastly, the paws of river otters and sea otters are webbed but the paws of a river otter are more circular shaped to aid in land locomotion versus seas otters that have webbing all the way to the toes to aid in water locomotion.