Endangered Species Day: Rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle Enters New Tank

This Endangered Species Day, Newport Aquarium celebrates a success story as the rescued loggerhead sea turtle hatchling, Shack, is introduced to a new, more spacious home within Newport Aquarium. Shack was just moved into the bigger saltwater tank outside Shark Ray Bay Theater, in the Shore Gallery. He entered the tank to the excitement and applause of a group of young children, and swam down to the front of the tank, giving the children an up close view as he explored his new home.

Shack now has more room to dive and grow as he awaits his next journey to return back to the ocean, off the coast of North Carolina. He was rescued last October, as a hatchling on the beach in Shackleford Shoal, N.C. He weighed 73 grams – about the size of an egg from your refrigerator—and could fit in the palm of your hand. He now weighs about 2.5 pounds.

Biologist, Jen Hazeres, with Shack, shortly after he was rescued.

Biologist, Jen Hazeres, with Shack, shortly after he was rescued. Shack weighed 73 grams.

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling

Newport Aquarium biologist, Jen Hazeres, with loggerhead sea turtle, Shack, before he enters his new, bigger tank. Shack now weighs 2.5 pounds.

“Moving Shack into the bigger tank is part of his development and enrichment,” said Jen Hazeres, biologist at Newport Aquarium. Hazeres was part of the team of biologists that rescued Shack, and brought him back to be fostered at Newport Aquarium. “He’ll be able to dive deeper. We want to get him used to a more natural environment before he’s released back out into the wild in October.”

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.

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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.

Why Tracking Is Important
Satellite tracking is extremely important in determining sea turtle migratory patterns, feeding and nesting data. We hope to learn a lot from their travels. You can go online and see where the rescued sea turtles go at www.wavefoundation.org.

Loggerhead sea turtle nest

Only one out of 1,000 hatchling turtles 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.

How To Help

  1. Help by keeping the beaches clean when you go on vacation. Pack up your beach chairs, towels, trash and other items at night so the sea turtles have an easy path to their nest.
  2. Turn off your porch lights at the vacation home during the nesting season. The artificial lighting confuses the female sea turtles from nesting. Instead, turtles will choose a less-than-optimal nesting spot, which affects the chances of producing a successful nest. Also, near-shore lighting can cause sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented when they are born.
  3. Reduce the need to use plastic bags. They end up in our oceans and look like floating jellyfish to sea turtles. Use reusable bags for your grocery items.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums chooses Newport Aquarium to publicly detail international endangered species campaign

Newport Aquarium’s AZA accreditation extended through 2019

Newport Aquarium Executive Director Eric Rose (left) receives the aquarium's renewed accreditation from Association of Zoos & Aquarium Executive Director Kris Vehrs.

Newport Aquarium Executive Director Eric Rose (left) receives the aquarium’s renewed accreditation from Association of Zoos & Aquarium Executive Director Kris Vehrs.

NEWPORT, Ky. — On Endangered Species Day, an international initiative to help save species from extinction and restore them to healthy sized populations in the wild was publicly announced to the world from Newport Aquarium.

Standing in front of Newport Aquarium guests and elected officials at Shark Ray Bay theater, the executive director of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Kris Vehrs detailed a new campaign entitled SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).

“By focusing the wild animal care, conservation, and science expertise of our 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and our conservation partners with the power of activating our 180 million annual visitors, we believe SAFE will be a game changer for global conservation,” said Vehrs.

Initially, SAFE will focus on 10 key species from a list of more than 100 that are facing serious threats and are critical to maintaining overall ecosystems. Newport Aquarium exhibits three of those species: African penguins, sharks and sea turtles.

Tilly is the name of choice for Newport Aquarium's Facebook fans.

Sea turtles are one of three species at Newport Aquarium that are now part of the SAFE program.

Every year for at least the next decade, 10 species will be added to SAFE based on the most current science and the availability of resources.

Vehrs also announced the renewal of AZA accreditation to Newport Aquarium, which opened its doors 16 years ago to the day on May 15, 1999.

“Newport Aquarium is passionate about caring for and sharing the amazing aquatic world with our guests, said Eric Rose, executive director of Newport Aquarium. “We couldn’t be prouder to serve as a host site for the AZA to launch the SAFE program and to receive our renewed AZA accreditation on both Endangered Species Day and our 16-year anniversary.”

Newport Aquarium will be raising awareness for the SAFE program and recognizing Endangered Species Day all weekend long, May 15-17, with special programming geared toward educating guests about the everyday actions they can take to help with animal conservation.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).

About AZA
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit aza.org.

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.

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Newport Aquarium, 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.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

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

Newport Aquarium to offer special programming during Endangered Species Day weekend

Sand tiger sharks are listed as endangered.

Sand tiger sharks are listed as endangered.

NEWPORT, Ky. — In recognition of Endangered Species Day, Newport Aquarium is offering guests special conservation and education programming, included with admission, throughout the weekend of May 15-17.

Endangered Species Day programming will include interactive Q&A sessions about the survival of African penguins during the Penguin Parade (10:15 a.m. daily), as well as sharks talks from the Shark Ray Bay Theater in between dive shows.

The WAVE Foundation, Newport Aquarium’s nonprofit partner, will have discovery stations located throughout the aquarium, where guests can learn about everyday actions that they can take to help the survival of endangered animals.

Denver, an endangered loggerhead sea turtle, swims in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Denver, an endangered loggerhead sea turtle, swims in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Started in 2006 by the U.S. Senate, Endangered Species Day is the third Friday of May each year and designed to raise awareness for the country’s need to protect imperiled wildlife, with an emphasis on success stories of species recovery.

Newport Aquarium’s 16-year anniversary of opening to the public is also on May 15.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). To learn more about the WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium, visit wavefoundation.org.

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Newport Aquarium, 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.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

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