Rescue Missions

Rescue Mission Blog

Read about recent animal rescue missions from Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s rescue team. 

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DO’s and DON’Ts if you encounter a stranded animal:

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Don’t push the animal back into the water.

Cetaceans strand for various reasons, typically resulting from illness or injury. Please call CMA’s Emergency Stranding Hotline with all available information and obtain photos or video if possible. The more information gathered, the better prepared the team can be upon response.

Do be careful!

Cetaceans are wild animals, which may use their rostrum, teeth or tails to protect themselves if they feel threatened. Human safety is always top priority, so please maintain a distance of 50 yards from the animal, unless otherwise directed by trained personnel.

Rescue Team Membersstranding team truck icon

CMA’s rescue team is composed of a variety of trained personnel, including staff biologists, interns and volunteers.

  • Stranding Coordinator: Abigale Stone
  • Senior Rescue Biologist: Kerry Sanchez
  • Rescue Biologist: Chuck White
  • Rescue Biologist: Jamie Knaub

Accompanying the staff are interns who participate in either spring, summer or fall internships, typically ranging from three to five months. The team is also composed of over 100 trained volunteers who assist the team with responses, monitoring and various tasks on a day-to-day basis.

Responsesstranding team truck icon

The CMA rescue team responds to a variety of marine animals, including cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises), sea turtles, manatees, and North American river otters. The team often collaborates with other departments and local organizations, such as assisting CMA’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Department upon live sea turtle intakes, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with manatee rescues, verification of mating herds and monitoring manatees potentially in distress. Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is another facility the team collaborates with by compiling and forwarding information regarding injured birds.

Rescue personnel also respond to deceased cetaceans and sea turtles. By participating in post-mortem examinations with a partnering facility, information regarding life history, cause of death and signs of human interaction may be investigated.

CMA Blog

Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted May 22, 2017
Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted Feb 27, 2017
Updated Jul 8, 2019 | Posted Jan 30, 2017

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