The National Aquarium announced today that a baby loggerhead has joined the Coastal Beach exhibit and is now available for public viewing. The loggerhead is the newest addition to the Maryland Mountains to the Sea gallery and will reside at the National Aquarium for one year before being released into the wild.
The yet-to-be-named baby loggerhead came to Baltimore as a part of the National Aquarium’s Loggerhead Head Start Program, the local arm of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores’ Sea Turtle Awareness Program. The National Aquarium is one of several aquariums across the country that participates in the program, which works to rescue and rehabilitate imperiled hatchlings. Once the hatchlings are recovered, they are outfitted with satellite tags and then released.
“Sea turtles lead a challenging life and we’re so happy to help give them a better chance at survival, “said Beth Claus, National Aquarium aquarist “We are proud to be a part of this program and hope the story of this baby loggerhead will help carry home our key messages to the public.”
Loggerhead turtles are named for their large heads that support powerful jaw muscles, allowing them to crush hard-shelled prey like clams and sea urchins. They are less likely to be hunted for their meat or shell compared to other sea turtles. However, loggerhead turtles are seriously threatened by “bycatch” which is the accidental capture of marine animals in fishing gear. They are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean making many of their nesting beaches under threat from tourism development. Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and are essential to maintaining the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds.
The National Aquarium will host a public naming for the baby loggerhead in early 2016.