NAQ’s AZA accreditation enabled participation in the conservation program
Newport Aquarium Water Quality Specialist Cameo Von Strohe (front) and Biologist Jen Hazeres (not pictured) helped release 18 loggerhead turtles Thursday as part of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Sea Turtle Program. (Photo courtesy of North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores)
BEAUFORT, N.C. – Two Newport Aquarium husbandry staffers, Biologist Jen Hazeres and Water Quality Specialist Cameo Von Strohe, participated Thursday in the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Sea Turtle Project.
Hazeres and Von Strohe partnered with representatives from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Mystic Aquarium, Pittsburgh Zoo and Virginia Living Museum to release 18 loggerhead turtles into warm waters of the Gulf Stream 36 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The turtles ranged from just a few weeks old to five years.
Newport Aquarium’s accreditation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums enabled the Northern Kentucky attraction to participate in the Sea Turtle Project with other AZA members.
“Today was tremendous; releasing 18 turtles,” Hazeres said. “It was just an awesome day. There were some hatchlings, one turtle was five years old. It was a great day for everyone. We worked hard the last year for this day and it’s a great feeling to see the end results.”
As part of the Sea Turtle Project, newly hatched turtles that do not immediately venture to water, and therefore are most vulnerable to not survive, are rescued and nurtured for typically one year until they are healthy and strong enough to be released into the wild.
Hazeres served as the Newport Aquarium liaison to the Sea Turtle Project and spent the last year fostering Freedom the Sea Turtle. Hatched in July 2012, Freedom was identification tagged before his release into the stream, while two other turtles were satellite tagged. The satellite tags are used for scientific research and tracking, and can stay on a turtle anywhere from two weeks to a year.
The WAVE Foundation, Newport Aquarium’s nonprofit partner, financed Freedom’s tagging as part of its conservation and education initiatives.
For more information about Newport Aquarium, visit www.newportaquarium.com or call 800-406-3474.