About NewportAquarium

Newport Aquarium has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since May 15, 1999. Named one of the best aquariums in the U.S. by Travel Channel and USA Today, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky jewel attraction is home to: The world’s first and only Shark Bridge; the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding Program; Mighty Mike – the biggest and baddest American alligator outside the state of Florida; the largest and most diverse collection of sharks in the Midwest; and one of the world’s largest and most diverse penguin exhibits. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa® returns to the Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium invites guests to celebrate the holidays under the sea

 NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Aquarium invites the public to experience a holiday celebration under the sea Nov. 25 – Dec. 31 at Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa®.

Newport Aquarium is the only place where families can celebrate the holidays under the sea as Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa® blends the thrill of indoor bubble showers and the intimacy of uniquely holiday-themed galleries with the tradition of Scuba Santa®, who has delighted guests since 2003.Scuba Santa

“Every year Newport Aquarium transforms into a truly wondrous setting where families can discover the wonder of an undersea holiday celebration,” said Eric Rose, executive director of Newport Aquarium. “It’s the only underwater holiday tradition in Greater Cincinnati.”

The Water Wonderland journey will also take guests through a number of holiday-clad galleries, culminating in a truly wondrous experience where families connect and interact with the magic of an undersea holiday celebration:

  • Shark Ray Bay – Guests will be surrounded by lights, bubbles and holiday music as they join one of Scuba Santa’s elves in song and discover how some of Newport Aquarium’s most iconic animals celebrate holidays under the sea. Children will have the unique opportunity to meet Scuba Santa® one-on-one as he dives inside the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank and tell him their holiday wishes.
  • Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – Hundreds of twinkling sea-creature lights will hang from the ceiling of the Seahorses: Unbridled Fun exhibit as guests experience holiday music and magical bubbles while enjoying some of nature’s most amazing creatures, such as trumpet fish, pipefish and several different species of seahorses and sea dragons.
  • Gator Alley – Honky-tonk holiday lighting, music and decorations welcome guests at Gator Alley, the home of Mighty Mike – the biggest and baddest alligator in the country outside of Florida at 14 feet and 800 pounds – as well as Snowball and Snowflake, two of less than 100 white alligators in the world.
  • Kroger Penguin Palooza – Children can write their holiday wish on a magic bubble and mail it at Scuba Santa’s Post Office inside Kroger Penguin Palooza, where five species of cold-weather penguins – a total of nearly 50 birds spread their own brand of holiday cheer.

* Scuba Santa® will not be diving on Christmas Day – he’ll be resting after a busy night traveling to homes all around the world.

Buy 3, Get 1 Annual Pass Sale: In time for the holidays, guests who purchase three Newport Aquarium Annual Passes will receive a fourth Annual Pass free. The Annual Pass Holiday Special ends on Jan. 2. Existing Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders can renew their passes during this promotion to receive $3 off the renewal rate for even more savings.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474)

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Newport Aquarium, named one of the top U.S. aquariums in 2016 by Leisure Group Travel, and voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

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One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com

Renowned Shark Scientist Joins Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium Takes Research Efforts to Next Level 

NEWPORT, Ky. — Thanks to a partnership with New England Aquarium, Newport Aquarium has created a new Senior Research Scientist position. Dr. Nick Whitney, Ph.D. is the new researcher working with the two institutions, and is now in residence at Newport Aquarium.

“This partnership speaks to the reach of the aquarium. We are now expanding our scope and commitment to wildlife conservation through leading-edge shark research,” said Eric Rose, Executive Director at Newport Aquarium.

Dr. Nick Whitney

Dr. Nick Whitney, new Senior Research Scientist

The opportunity for a dedicated research position presented itself when Dr. Whitney relocated to Cincinnati after more than seven years with Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. He then joined the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at New England Aquarium, and thanks to some great collaboration with these leading institutions, Dr. Whitney will work in residence right here at Newport Aquarium.

“I’m looking forward to taking research and conservation efforts here at Newport Aquarium to more of a national and international level. I’m excited to join this team of dedicated biologists and build upon their impressive research efforts that have the potential to improve animal care and field conservation around the world,” said Whitney.

Whitney’s research uses high-tech tags called accelerometers (the same motion sensors found in smartphones and Fitbits) to measure fine-scale movements of animals to study their behavior and answer questions that can’t be addressed through traditional tags. His current research with New England Aquarium focuses on whether sharks survive after being caught and released by fishermen.

At Newport, Whitney looks forward to contributing to ongoing research around the Aquarium’s groundbreaking shark ray breeding program, developing and testing new types of shark tags and attachment methods, and helping to increase the conservation impact of this research.

“We are fortunate to have the talents of Dr. Whitney on staff. He will also be supporting the animal husbandry team by leading our own in-house research, then publishing our original research in leading journals and publications,” said Eric Rose.

Dr. Whitney has conducted research on sharks, sea turtles, and other species and has appeared on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Channel among others. He has worked with the conservation group OCEARCH to tag adult great white sharks off of Cape Cod, and his research has been supported by a variety of funding sources, including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Geographic Society.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

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Newport Aquarium, named one of the top U.S. aquariums in 2016 by Leisure Group Travel, and voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Stay Hooked In: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | YouTube | WordPress
One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com

Newport Aquarium offers free admission to veterans and active military Nov. 5 – 13

Veterans Week

Sponsored by Humana

Veterans Get Free Admission!

Newport Aquarium and Humana are honoring all the men and women who’ve served our country and are currently serving, by offering them free admission from November 5th to 13th. If you’re an active or retired member of the military, a disabled veterans, military reservist, or anyone who has ever served in the Armed Forces, just show your Military I.D.* at the Newport Aquarium ticket window to receive your free admission.

Military Discount for Family Members

Family members can receive our military discount of $3 off adult tickets and $2 off child tickets.

Free Gift and Reserved seating for Veterans

Newport Aquarium and Humana would like to present each Veteran with a special patriotic pin to show our appreciation for your service. Veterans wearing the pin can take advantage of reserved front row seating with their families during shows, feeds and talks.

Other special discounts for pin wearing Veterans:

*To receive free admission you can show a Military I.D. card, VA membership or healthcare card, a state verified veteran status logo on your driver’s license or state I.D., discharge papers or any other proof of military service.

Thank you for your service to our country!

 

Rescued loggerhead sea turtle makes successful return to the ocean

Shack’s Release

A team from Newport Aquarium is in North Carolina, bringing Shack back to Shackleford Banks. After spending this past year at Newport Aquarium, growing and thriving, he’s ready to return to the ocean. Here’s Shack’s homecoming, told from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres, and Water Quality Specialist, Cameo VonStrohe.

Jen and Cameo with Shack, ready for the return to the ocean.

Jen and Cameo with Shack, ready for the return to the ocean.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
A busy day ahead! We started at NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The biologists prepared the turtles for the boat journey. It’s the same way we did when we prepared Shack for the trip back to North Carolina – applied an eye salve and ointment on shells and flippers.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk, joined Jen and Cameo for the release.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk, joined Jen and Cameo for the release.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk joined us on the trip, to release Shack back into the ocean.

We traveled to the dock at Morehead City. This is where the volunteers (total of about 70 passengers) had a chance to meet and greet the turtles before boarding the Carolina Princess.

After about a two hour ride out, we reached warmer waters so it was time to anchor for the release. The water temperature was 74 F, depth 98 feet, latitude 34.27.477, longitude 76.17.969.

33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore – they ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old. Photo Courtesy: NC Aquarium at Pink Knoll Shores

33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore – they ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old.
Photo Courtesy: NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

 

 

Out on the boat today, to release hatchlings and yearlings, were teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, National Aquarium in Baltimore, NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, NC State Aquariums Roanoke and NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

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Thanks to NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore, near the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. They ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old.

Homecoming for Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle

Greetings from Shackleford Banks

This week marks a big homecoming for Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle. A team from Newport Aquarium is in North Carolina, bringing Shack back to Shackleford Banks. After spending this past year at Newport Aquarium, growing and thriving, he’s ready to return to the ocean. Here’s Shack’s homecoming, told from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres, and Water Quality Specialist, Cameo VonStrohe.

Monday, October 17, 2016
We spent the day collecting salt marsh fish with two biologists from Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium.

We caught striped killifish, sheepshead minnows, permit, mullet, and hermit crabs.

After a short boat ride to Shackleford Banks, the team anchored then used cast nets. This location happens to be our yearling turtle’s namesake… Shack, where he was found stranded on the beach last year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

We took Shack to get a check-up and prepped for a PIT tag. Dr. Matthew Godfrey from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission measured Shack’s shell. Dr. Godfrey performed check-ups and took measurements on all of the turtles that are going to be released.

The PIT tag is an injected ID tag that can be read via a reader like UPC code. Biologists and keepers at zoos and aquariums use PIT tags with a lot of larger animals to help identify them from like animals in the same tank – such as sharks at Newport.

Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

We joined teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

We joined teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Jean Beasley gave us a tour at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. She is a real hero for sea turtle rescue in memory of her daughter.

The hospital was incredible, Jean is a huge champion of sea turtles.

The hospital was incredible, Jean is a huge champion of sea turtles.

The pools in the picture behind Jean are full of other rescue turtles. The hospital gets severe medical cases that usually involve surgeries or more involved rehab. Almost all turtles are released.

The hospital is 20 years old but moved into the new huge building three years ago. They have two main rooms, one for more critical patients. They also have a surgery room, radiograph room, kitchen, lab, and more. The hospital is completely funded privately and staffed by volunteers. They rehab green sea turtles, kemps, and loggerheads. Learn more about the hospital here: http://www.seaturtlehospital.org/

From the hospital’s website: The mission of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is the conservation and preservation of all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach.

Karen Beasley Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

We accomplish this through the rescue, care, and release of sick and injured sea turtles, public education regarding the plight of sea turtles and the threat of their extinction, and learning opportunities for students of biology, wildlife conservation, and veterinary medicine from around the world. A nonprofit organization, we view our work as a privilege and are honored to work with these magnificent creatures.

Stay tuned for Jen and Cameo’s next post: Shack gets released back into the ocean.

Read our previous post: Rescued loggerhead sea turtle ‘yearling’ on his way to the ocean.

National Veterinary Technician Week 2016

This week is National Veterinary Technician Week. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in animal healthcare. Vet Techs are educated professionals who work closely with veterinarians to ensure the best quality of care for animals. We’d like to recognize Jolene Hanna, the Animal Health & Quarantine Manager and Veterinary Technician at Newport Aquarium. Thank you, Jolene for all that you do!

Jolene Hanna, RVT Animal Health & Quarantine Manager at Newport Aquarium, feeds a shark behind the scenes.

Jolene Hanna, RVT Animal Health & Quarantine Manager at Newport Aquarium, feeds a shark behind the scenes.

Why did you choose to become a vet tech?

“I always wanted to work with animals. As a teenager, I worked as kennel help at the local vet hospital and was given the opportunity to go out on farm calls and to watch surgeries on a regular basis.”

Hanna received her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. “I always wanted to work with dolphins.”

As fate would have it, she ended up working with a completely different species – sharks! She helped launch the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding program, and ended up working with sharks here at Newport Aquarium.

After college, Hanna joined AmeriCorps and completed the Vet Tech program before coming to work at Newport Aquarium.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

“The possibilities are limitless. I don’t have a ‘typical’ day. I could be in the Antarctic or I could be diving in the Amazon tank. There’s always something new to learn.”

Something new, such as taking part in research projects.  “Taking part in scientific research. I did a study on birth control implants on freshwater stingrays.”

Hanna makes tank-side visits with animals at Newport Aquarium. “I never would have imagined I’d be doing this, but this is what I do.”

What has been your most memorable moment during your career?

“Definitely, working with the shark rays – it’s been a long journey! It’s an opportunity to work with a first of its kind program in the world.”

“We’re part of (kind of) a new industry, working with sharks. What we learn, we’re sharing the knowledge with other institutions. We have become better stewards for the species. This is my contribution to something that is globally influential. I’m putting my fingerprint on it.”

Rescued loggerhead sea turtle ‘yearling’ on his way to the ocean

After spending the last year at Newport Aquarium, Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle is making his way back to North Carolina, and will be released back into the ocean this week. Shack came to Newport Aquarium last October, as a part of the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project. He was rescued as a hatchling on the beach along Shackleford Banks in North Carolina.

Shack, therescued loggerhead sea turtle is ready to return to the ocean.

Shack, therescued loggerhead sea turtle is ready to return to the ocean.

Working Together

Biologists at Newport Aquarium work closely with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores to rehabilitate a young loggerhead sea turtle each year.

One final picture in front of the saltwater tank near Shore Gallery. Biologist Jen Hazeres spent the last year raising Shack, and preparing him to return to the ocean.

One final picture in front of the saltwater tank near Shore Gallery. Biologist Jen Hazeres spent the last year raising Shack, and preparing him to return to the ocean.

“We travel to North Carolina every fall to release the previous year’s hatchling and pick up a new sea turtle that needs our help,” said Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres who will be joined by Newport Aquarium Water Quality Specialist, Cameo Von Strohe. This week, they will meet up with teams from several other facilities to release the sea turtle “yearlings” back into the ocean. And they’ll return with a new hatchling to raise over the next year.

Ready for the ocean

In preparation to bring the yearling sea turtle back to North Carolina, Hazeres gave Shack one final check-up. She prepped his shell and rubbed an ointment on his head and shell. She also applied a salve on his eyes to keep them moistened.

Stay tuned for updates as Hazeres and Von Strohe visit the site in North Carolina and rescue a new hatchling.

To learn more about how you can help, see our previous post: https://aquariumworks.org/2016/05/20/endangered-species-day-rescued-loggerhead-sea-turtle-enters-new-tank/

African Penguin Awareness Days Oct. 8 – 16 at Newport Aquarium

By: Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer

Newport Aquarium is celebrating African Penguin Awareness Week October 8th  through October 16th. On Saturday, October 8th we are kicking off African Penguin Awareness Day with an entire week focused on African Penguins. During this week, we want to tell the story of the African Penguins and what the WAVE Foundation and the Newport Aquarium are doing to prevent the species from moving closer to extinction. From Saturday October 8th-Sunday October 16th we are donating every “Dollar for Conservation” that we get to SANCCOB’s disaster relief and chick-rearing efforts.

African penguins

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic drop in the population for African Penguins. In 2006, there was estimated to be over 100,000 African Penguins in South Africa. Today it is estimated to be less than 50,000 birds in Namibia and South Africa.

Why have numbers dropped so drastically?  The answer is not very simple since there are several different levels of influence on the population.  But two areas to focus would be competition for food with the fishing industry and the oil industry.

Competition For Food
The Benguela marine ecosystem is one of the richest in sardines and anchovies in the world and located off the coast of South Africa and the breeding colonies of the African Penguins.  This is a main food choice for African Penguins.  However, there is competition for food for the African Penguins; this area is also heavily fished by commercial fisheries. The competition with the fisheries and warming sea waters, forces the birds to travel further out to sea to catch fish in order to feed the chicks on the nest.

The additional travel for the adult birds only compounds the situations, expending more energy requires more food for them and their chicks. This means more time in the ocean, and the threat of predators, both at sea and on land.  At sea, the adults can fall prey to Cape fur seals and sharks.  On land, the chicks and eggs can be eaten by Kelp Gulls and small carnivores that have access to mainland colonies.

The Oil Industry
The oil industry has just increased their goals for production and the construction of more oil rigs in the region.  In 2000, the MV Treasure sank in Table Bay, South Africa.  This event caused the oiling of over 19,000 African Penguins.  Crude oil is dangerous for the penguins; it breaks down the natural water-proofing of the birds while at sea.  The oil causes them to become water-logged, hypothermic, disoriented and sometimes not able to make it back to shore.  Once on shore, the penguins will begin to preen themselves; ingesting the oil, becoming ill and potentially dying if not helped.  Rescuing oiled African penguins is a regular occurrence in South Africa.
Making A Difference
The WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium promotes and raises funds to support SANCCOB (The South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) in Cape Town.  SANCCOB rescues, rehabilitates and releases approximately 1,000 African Penguins a year affected by oil.  The staff and volunteers of SANCCOB dedicate themselves every day to the African Penguins and other sea birds.  They need our support.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) initiated a program in 2015 called SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction); targeting 10 endangered species around the world.  Collaborative Conservation will identify and prioritize the needs of a species and build a 3-year Conservation Action Plan (CAP).

Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium, was appointed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to be the Program Coordinator for the AZA SAFE African Penguin Individual Identification Project.

Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium, was appointed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to be the Program Coordinator for the AZA SAFE African Penguin Individual Identification Project.

The Newport Aquarium is playing an integral part of this conservation plan.  Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT) Tags are being used as part of the Individual Identification Project that the Newport Aquarium is responsible for coordinating.  A collaboration of AZA Partners – The Racine Zoo, Northeastern Zoo of Wisconsin, the Maryland Zoo, Sea World and the WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium as well as our South African Partners are working together to individually identify 10% of the world’s population of African Penguins over the next 3 years. PIT Tagging will allow biologists to assess longevity and survival, nest site, natal site and mate fidelity, inter-colony movement, and many other metrics that will be helpful to management of the species.

Now is the time to Act – you can make a difference during African Penguin Awareness Week.  Everyone can contribute to the conservation of African Penguins by visiting the Newport Aquarium.  By visiting the Newport Aquarium Gift Shop, you can make a contribution to “Dollars to Conservation” when you purchase anything in the store, or you can just make a donation at the desk.  All the proceeds during this week to “Dollars for Conservation” will go directly to support SANCCOB and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of African Penguins.

The African Penguin is an endangered species, threatened with extinction that needs our help.  You can learn more about how to contribute by visiting, www.wavefoundation.org or www.AZASavingSpecies.org

Meet the Mermaids at Newport Aquarium

Mermaids have arrived at Newport Aquarium. They’re visiting from different parts of the world, sharing important conservation messages about the ocean and its inhabitants. Guests can visit them daily during a meet and greet in Shark Ray Bay Theater. Mermaids will also be swimming daily in the Amazon with some of the biggest freshwater fish in the world, the Arapaima.

Mermaid Coral is known for being the protector of all Coral Reefs. She is from the Great Barrier Reef near Australia. Caring for reefs, she often spends time searching for harmful plastics and items from the human world that harm her ocean friends. She enjoys meeting humans and sharing the importance of reusable items instead of one-time-use plastics that end up in her underwater world.

Mermaid Coral is known for being the protector of all Coral Reefs. She is from the Great Barrier Reef near Australia.

Mermaid Coral is known for being the protector of all Coral Reefs. She is from the Great Barrier Reef near Australia.

Mermaid Calliope is an adventurous mermaid who often finds herself in the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. She helped guide the Black Pearl and Captain Jack on numerous treasure hunts. She has been dubbed an official Pirate Mermaid and a friend of Jack’s crew. When Calliope is not swimming the Caribbean searching for treasure and new places, she is also a trained opera singer.

Mermaid Calliope is from the Caribbean. She's been named an official Pirate Mermaid by Caption Jack.

Mermaid Calliope is from the Caribbean. She’s been named an official Pirate Mermaid by Caption Jack.

Mermaid Kailua is from the Kona Coast of Hawaii, where she spent her days swimming along the reefs cleaning invasive algae and cleaning up debris from the human world. She would often hold races with her lazy sea turtle friends and spy on the beautiful Tiger Sharks of Hawaii, being sure to keep the waters clean as the Tiger Sharks are in danger of disappearing. Sharks are her best friends and are actually very nice to mermaids and people! Kailua loves to play in the waves and you can sometimes spot her red hair far out at sea!

Mermaid Kailua is from the Kona Coast of Hawaii. Where she spent her days swimming along the reefs cleaning invasive algae and cleaning up debris from the human world.

Mermaid Kailua is from the Kona Coast of Hawaii. Where she spent her days swimming along the reefs cleaning invasive algae and cleaning up debris from the human world.

 

Mermaid Luna is a strong and curious mermaid who was raised in the cool deep waters of the Norwegian Sea! She loves watching ships leave their ports and swimming with pods of pilot whales before they swim south. She tells her friends all about the ancient Nordic myths that surround her home-sea, and if you ask nicely, she may even tell you some stories about a pair of interesting sisters she met in a nearby country called Arendelle!

Mermaid Luna is a strong and curious mermaid who was raised in the cool deep waters of the Norwegian Sea!

Mermaid Luna is a strong and curious mermaid who was raised in the cool deep waters of the Norwegian Sea! Photo courtesy: Devon K Photography

Mermaid Ulua or Uloo for short, was born in the warm, turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. She flourished among the many tropical creatures, swimming among whales and dolphins, listening to fables told by the puffer fish. Like all merfolk, Uloo was taught from a young age to respect and worship our ocean waters, as they help both animals and humans learn many life lessons. She has fast become known as Hawaii’s favorite mermaid!

Mermaid Ulua

Mermaid Ulua was taught from a young age to respect and worship our ocean waters, as they help both animals and humans learn many life lessons.

 

Mermaid Lelu loves her home waters in tropical Micronesia. There are lots of islands and coral reefs to play around and even more sea friends visiting her on their migrations around the world. Lelu recently joined some of her mermaid friends on a journey around the world.

Mermaid Lelu’s reminder: be brave and always stay true to who you are. Be sure to tell her what makes you special and talented too! Photo courtesy: Devon K Photography

 

 

Rescued Loggerhead sea turtle ready to return to the ocean

Shack, a rescued loggerhead sea turtle receives his final exam from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist Jen Hazeres and Dr. Peter Hill.

Shack, a rescued loggerhead sea turtle receives his final exam from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist Jen Hazeres and Dr. Peter Hill.

Shack, the one-year-old rescued loggerhead sea turtle at Newport Aquarium will be released into the Atlantic Ocean next month, as a part of the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project. Shack was rescued last October, as a hatchling on the beach in Shackleford Shoal, N.C.

Newport Aquarium has partnered with aquariums across the country to participate in this project and aid sea turtle conservation efforts since 2003.

Only one out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will grow up to be adults. Some sea turtles can lay more than 100 eggs each time they nest. However, a lot of things can stop a sea turtle from laying her eggs. They’re accidentally captured in fisheries. They’re also hunted in many coastal communities, especially in Central America.

Only one out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will grow up to be adults. Some sea turtles can lay more than 100 eggs each time they nest. However, a lot of things can stop a sea turtle from laying her eggs. They’re accidentally captured in fisheries. They’re also hunted in many coastal communities, especially in Central America.

Through the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project, newly hatched turtles that are at risk to not make it into the water are rescued and nurtured for about a year until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.

The first several minutes after they hatch are when these turtles are most at risk, but the majority of problems threatening them later in life aren’t natural—they’re man-made, including the fishing industry and loss of nesting habitat.

 

Growing and Learning
When Shack arrived at Newport Aquarium, he weighed 73 grams – about the size of an egg from your refrigerator—and could fit in the palm of your hand.  After spending a year at Newport Aquarium learning to swim, find his own food and coexist with other marine life, Shack is ready to return to the ocean.

He spent the last four months hanging out with the different species of angelfish and other saltwater fish in the exhibit outside Shark Ray Bay Theater, in the Shore Gallery.

“He learned how to dive deeper, and he’s gotten used to the environment,” said Jen Hazeres, senior biologist at Newport Aquarium. Hazeres was part of the team that brought Shack back to be fostered at Newport Aquarium. In his most recent checkup, staff veterinarian, Dr. Peter Hill took Shack’s shell measurements, performed a physical exam and weight, and cleared Shack for release. He now weighs almost 7 and a half pounds.

Shack explores the tank with his new neighbors.

Shack explores the tank with his new neighbors.

Saving The Species
Scientists say only one out of 1,000 hatchlings has a chance of making it to adulthood. All sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Biologists at Newport Aquarium work closely with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores to rehabilitate a young loggerhead sea turtle each year. Newport Aquarium biologists travel to North Carolina each fall to release the previous year’s hatchling and pick up a new sea turtle that needs our help. The WAVE Foundation’s Aquatic Conservation Fund supports the satellite tagging of our turtles before their release.

After Shack is released, Newport Aquarium staffers will return to Northern Kentucky with a new hatchling turtle to raise over the next year. Stay tuned for that announcement.

To learn more about how you can help, see our previous post: https://aquariumworks.org/2016/05/20/endangered-species-day-rescued-loggerhead-sea-turtle-enters-new-tank/