Chevrolet signs as Aquarium’s Official Conservation Vehicle, helps return turtles to sea
On Saturday, June 19, three endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were treated like “diplomats of the sea” as they were escorted from Baltimore to the southern tip of Maryland in a new 2010 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid – the Official Conservation Vehicle of the National Aquarium – and released into the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, Maryland. The successful transfer and release marks the first of many animal rescue efforts that will take place as part of an ongoing partnership between the National Aquarium and Chevrolet.
Chevrolet and the National Aquarium share the goal of inspiring individuals to make thoughtful choices that ensure healthier oceans and waterways for our community and around the world. As part of Chevrolet’s exclusive vehicle partnership with the National Aquarium, Chevrolet is providing a hybrid Silverado for the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue program. Additionally, Chevrolet’s “gas-friendly to gas-free” campaign will be at the Aquarium’s Baltimore venue this summer to raise awareness of how people can become less dependent on oil and live more eco-friendly lives through vehicle options.
“When we found out that these endangered sea turtles being rehabilitated by the National Aquarium needed to be released, we knew our Silverado was the perfect vehicle for the job,” said Chevrolet Sales and Marketing Manager Dan Adamcheck. “We take pride in knowing that with our hybrid technology, the National Aquarium can better care for animals in need, whether they are responding locally or if they are called on to help with the terrible situation in the Gulf.”
The sea turtles came to the National Aquarium in January from New England and Delaware, suffering from cases of cold stunning- the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. After 6 months of rehabilitation by The National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue program, the turtles, named Marshall, Patterson and Hampden, were nursed back to health and ready to be released back to the ocean.
Prior to release, Marshall, who was named after the General Motors Baltimore Transmission Operations plant in White Marsh, Maryland, was outfitted with a small satellite transmitter that will allow the National Aquarium to track the turtle. The public is invited to follow Marshall’s progress by viewing a satellite map of his travels at the Aquarium’s website.
Saturday’s event marked the 84th, 85th and 86th animals released by the National Aquarium. Formed in 1991 and staffed almost entirely by volunteers, the Animal Rescue team has responded to hundreds of strandings, including seals, dolphins and endangered sea turtles, and to sightings of manatees, dolphins and other marine mammals.
“Our rescue team responds to animal strandings all over the state of Maryland, which has nearly 7,000 miles of shoreline,” commented Jennifer Dittmar, Stranding Coordinator for the National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue program. “Thanks to Chevrolet, our Silverado hybrid allows us to fulfill our mission of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick and stranded animals, while maximizing fuel efficiency and minimizing our environmental impact. It’s a win-win scenario for our team.”
As an active member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network, the National Aquarium is closely connected to the agencies responding to the disaster in the Gulf, and is on standby to help with the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. Since Kemp’s ridley sea turtles commonly utilize the Chesapeake Bay during the warm summer months to feed on an assortment of jellies and invertebrates, Aquarium officials felt this was the best time and location to release the turtles and to prepare for the possibility of new patients. The turtles are expected to stay in the Mid-Atlantic region or head north for the summer.
Many of Animal Rescue's patients are sick or injured due to human-related problems like boat strikes, gear entanglement or plastic ingestion. Weather, malnourishment, exhaustion and pollution also contribute to strandings. Rescuing and studying stranded animals provides vital information about the status of the ocean and coastal environments, as well as the biology and health of the animals that live in those environments.
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