The National Aquarium and its Animal Care and Rescue Center are temporarily closed in response to COVID-19. Help support us while we are closed by Donating Today.

2016 Recap: Animal Rescue

It was a busy year for our Animal Rescue program as the team worked to rescue, rehabilitate and release multiple animals, all while celebrating the program’s 25th anniversary! Take a look back on some of the year’s biggest stories:

Published December 21, 2016


In early March, Megatron, a male harbor seal, stranded on Bethany Beach, Delaware. He was later transported to the Aquarium for care. During his three months of rehabilitation, our Animal Rescue team treated him for dehydration, emaciation, and skin lesions consistent with seal pox. Our team worked relentlessly to prepare for his release in mid-May.

Megatron was released in Ocean City, Maryland as a crowd of well-wishers bid him a fond farewell! As soon as he met the water’s edge, he quickly shuffled back into the waves.

25th Anniversary of the Aquarium's Animal Rescue Programcougar-shell-surgery

This year the Animal Rescue program celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Aquarium! Founded in 1991, the Animal Rescue team has helped rescue, rehabilitate and release 173 animals. During its 25 years of operation, the team has cared for sea turtles, seals, manatees and even a pygmy sperm whale. Each animal’s care looks a little different, but the ultimate goal is to release every animal back into its natural environment.

2016-2017 Animal Rescue Season sea-turtle-exam

Our Animal Rescue team is already busy caring for sea turtles as colder weather is upon us. Currently there are 21 turtles in our care, most suffering from cold-stunning, which refers to the health problems that develop when sea turtles are exposed to cold water temperatures for a long time. Cold-stunning often causes poor circulation, pneumonia and bone infections. The turtles will be cared for until they are well enough to thrive in the wild.

Stay tuned for more updates about our Animal Rescue program as we move into 2017!

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Vampire squid Rollin' In The Deep

For generations, humankind has referred to outer space as the final frontier. But what about the unknown depths of our own planet?

Read the full story

octo header No Hands? No Problem: Tool Use Among Aquatic Animals

Aquatic animals are resourceful—just like humans, when they can’t solve a problem, they can look to the world around them ... and fashion tools!  

Read the full story

Related Stories

2016 Recap: Conservation Wins, Cont’d

Published December 27, 2016

2016 Recap: Conservation Wins

Published December 15, 2016