Our Mission

Rescue, Rehab, Release

Our Mission

Rescue, Rehab, Release

Press header - Sea turtle release at Clearwater Beach

Our Mission

Rescue, Rehab, Release

Understanding Our Mission

We believe in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life; environmental education; research; and conservation. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

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.

Animal Rehabilitation and Return to the Wild

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.

Caring for Resident Animals

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 its species to help us promote environmental conservation.

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.

Our rescue team joined efforts with FWC this week to respond to a manatee calf that had suffered several boat propeller strikes. The calf was successfully rescued & transported to Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation. It is crucial to marine animals’ safety that we all practice safe boating while out on the water! Learn how you can help protect marine animals from boat strikes @ bit.ly/2sj6zRm

All activities were conducted under USFWS permit # MA770191.
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