The Virginia Beach Aquarium sent two key members of their Stranding Response Team to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas for 10 days to assist with saving and rehabilitating sea turtles sick from the gulf oil spill.
Mark Swingle (the aquarium's director of research and conservation) along with Christina Trapani (assistant stranding response coordinator) flew to New Orleans on June 29th and embarked on a 10 day mission to provide relief and assistance to the Audubon staff who has been working tirelessly to save hundreds of turtles affected by the spill.
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is working in conjunction with the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program and is the primary responder for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of all marine mammals (dolphins, whales and manatees) and sea turtles along the Louisiana coast.
Hundreds upon hundreds of sea turtles are expected to become stranded in the area and in need of help. The largest challenge facing these environmentalists is being able to house them long-term because as of right now, they cannot be released back into their native habitat.
Swingle and Traponi are just two of many volunteers joining the effort to assist in the gulf. Their focus will be assisting veterinarians with feeding, administering medications, treating injuries and keeping tanks clean.
The Virginia Beach Aquarium Stranding Response Team has responded to over 1500 marine animal strandings and more than 2200 sea turtles. The Stranding Response Program is supported by donations from the community, corporations and grant-making organizations. You can get involved and help by making a tax-deductible gift to the Virginia Aquarium.
If you're looking for things to do in Virginia Beach, remember the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center! Your admission price helps support the important research and conservation programs that the aquarium participates in.