The Conservation Wins Newsletter by Aquapparel – February 2020

Pregnant Dolphin Rescued After Becoming Stranded in Wellfleet, Massachusetts

A Washington, DC organization by the name of ifaw (International Fund for Animal Welfare) responded to the first Dolphin stranding call of 2020 so far. While one of the Dolphins was being examined before her release back into the ocean, the rescue crew discovered that she was pregnant.

Image Source: ifaw’s Twitter @action4ifaw
Image Source: ifaw’s Twitter @action4ifaw
Image Source: ifaw’s Twitter @action4ifaw

Rescue teams often will preform health checks before releasing a stranded animal back into the wild. They do this determine if they need medical attention or not before being released. Luckily for this Mama Dolphin and her soon to be born baby, this team not only ensured that both Mom and baby were healthy, but gave them a chance at survival.

The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks Treats Over 100 Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles

Sea turtles can withstand cold temperatures of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before they suffer a condition similar to hypothermia. When the temperature drops too quickly and below that point, they become “cold-stunned” and will float to the surface. In this state it can be very difficult for the sea turtles to move around. This makes hunting and eating nearly impossible for them.

Sea Turtles resting in baby pools in a public bathroom at the aquairum that was shut down in order to allow the sea turtles to recover.

While this happens pretty much every year in the Outer Banks, with Sea Turtles being endangered, many different organizations dedicate their time and resources to helping these sea turtles recover and release them back into the ocean. Staff and volunteers of the aquarium give the turtles room in their facility to rest and slowly warm up. They get fed a healthy diet of all of their favor foods while they recover.

Volunteers feeding the recovering Sea Turtles

In this particular instance, the aquarium shut down part of their facility and forfeited making money in order to give the sea turtles a place to recover.

Over the years these efforts have had an amazingly positive impact on the sea turtle’s population numbers.

Iceland Didn’t Hunt Any Whales in 2019 — and Public Appetite for Whale Meat is Fading

Iceland may be coming to the realization that whale watching may be better for the local economy than whale hunting. Iceland is one of the 3 countries that still allow commercial whaling.

The Humpback Whale (pictured above) nearly reached extinction a one point. Luckily, the whales in the southern Atlantic ocean have resurfaced once again and the numbers in the Western South Atlantic ocean have increased by 93%!

For the first time since 2002, no whales were hunted in Iceland even though government issues permits were distributed. If this positive trend continues, it gives the chance to the whale populations in the Northern Atlantic to recover and flourish. Let’s hope it does!

Kayakers Free Seals From Life Threatening Marine Debris in Nambia

In the video below kayakers are seeing catching, detangling and releasing several seals that have life threatening nets entangled around their necks and bodies. The first seal in the video has a hook stuck in it’s mouth that the kayaker is able to easily remove. However, as the video goes on, the entanglement cases get worse and worse. At the end of the video there is a cute moment where a young seal comes aboard one of the kayakers boats and says hello. 🙂

It’s always a good idea to carry something that can safely cut marine debris with you while kayaking. Be very careful and call the proper authority for help when dealing with large animals or any type of marine life that you are unable to safely – both yourself as well as the animal – assist.

Scientists in Florida Keys Spending $100 Million to Stop Coral Reef Deaths

Generally you can tell if a coral reef is healthy or not by the color of the corals. If a reef is healthly it ususally looks something like this:

Unfortunately, since the 1970s and 1980s the coral reefs in the Florida Keys have been slowly getting damaged over time and look more like this now in some areas:

The damage comes in all kinds of forms from hurricanes to commercial fishing to tourists touching the corals (it’s very bad for them) to recreational over-fishing, etc. Luckily, help is now on the way with $100 million dollars in funding groups like the Coral Restoration Foundation, Florida Keys Natural Sanctuary, Mote Marine Lab, FWC, NOAA and more are coming together to restore the 7 reef systems in the Florida Keys.

“Corals are like the trees. The trees provide habitat for the butterflies and the birds and mammals that live in that community, and so the corals do the same thing,” Andy Bruckner, a research coordinator at NOAA, said. So by restoring the coral, we can restore this area’s environment and bring it back to a healthy state.

Offshore nursery being tended to by a Coral Restoration employee

The project will take about 20 years to complete. Not bad for reversing about 50 years worth of damage! So what exactly are they doing with $100 million dollars? They are growing endangered corals in a lab setting. Once they reach a certain size, they are outplanted to grow even larger in an offshore nursery like the one pictured above. Once they reach the right size, they are then transported and transplanted onto one of the 7 reefs where they can thrive and help to rebuild that particular reef.

Coral out planting onto the reef
Image Source:

This process takes time and a lot of money but it is well worth it! The hope of that in addition to restoring the Florida Key’s coral reefs, that this project will serve as a model for restoration efforts across America’s 95,000 miles of shoreline.

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