Rescue, Rehab, Release
Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff and volunteers work each day to rescue marine life and provide the most advanced and effective care to maximize the opportunity to return sick or injured animals to their homes.The animals that come through our doors arrive because they are suffering from an illness or severe injury. Many of our animals are found by local residents, fishermen, park rangers or even visitors to the area.
Once an animal arrives at our hospital, a team of experienced CMA staff biologists, veterinarians and volunteers create a rehabilitation plan specifically developed based on its injury or illness with the goal of returning it to the wild. We also give every animal a name as they have personalities just like we do. It is often hard to say goodbye to our new friends when they are successfully rehabbed, however we feel so happy to be able to return them to their homes.
Sometimes the injuries are so severe, or the animal is so young, that it would not be in the animal's best interest to release it back into the wild. CMA works with agencies such as National Marine Fisheries and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make these decisions. If the animal is unable to be released back into the wild, it becomes a permanent member of the CMA family, and lives here to serve as an ambassador for their species to help us promote environmental conservation.
Learn about the animals that are currently undergoing rehabilitation and receiving treatment.Learn More
Releases are the ultimate success stories of CMA. Learn these unique animal's amazing stories.Learn More
Inspiring the Human Spirit
We educate and inspire millions of people around the world through films like Dolphin Tale
and Dolphin Tale 2
. People relate to the strength it takes to overcome obstacles as brave animals exemplify that every day. By inviting guests to see firsthand how we care for these animals, we create powerful experiences that can change lives and make a difference.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Education Department is dedicated to inspiring guests of all ages to appreciate the marine environment while promoting conservation. We strive to develop an understanding for the irreplaceable value of all life in our world’s ocean. By teaching children and adults the importance of conservation, ecology and stewardship, we believe they will apply this knowledge to make sustainable choices and take an active part in preserving our marine environment.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a leader in marine mammal and environmental research throughout Florida. We collaborate on scientific research to better understand animal behavior, illness, treatment and endangered species protection. Working with scientific and conservation partners, we protect marine animals and their habitats.
Here are a few ways CMA has contributed to groundbreaking research and conservation:
Our innovative care for Winter, the first dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail, resulted in technology now used to help human patients. The gel sleeve that serves as a comfortable barrier between Winter’s skin and her prosthetic is now used by people with prosthetics every day.
Every year, CMA’s Stranding Team joins forces with U.S. Geological Survey and other supporting organizations to conduct manatee health assessments in Crystal River. Our members work alongside veterinarians, researchers, and biologists to aid with the medical assessment and tagging of these manatees. By conducting these assessments, we are able to promote research and conservation of this endangered species and their ecosystem.
The CMA Stranding Team continues to contribute to the mark-recapture research study conducted by Dr. Ann Weaver and Mote Marine Laboratory by sharing photographs taken of stranded dolphins’ dorsal fins and flukes.
See how Clearwater Marine Aquarium is uniquely different
See our work featured in the news
Report a stranding