Looking Back at 2019: Rescue Recap

In preparation for the upcoming year's slate of patients, we're reflecting on our rescue triumphs of 2019!

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Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles

2019 was off to a quick start in the second week of January, with the arrival of loggerheads Iron and Gallium.

Iron and Gallium joined a group of 32 sea turtles that arrived some months previous, in November of 2018. In February, March and April 2019, these cold-stun patients were fully rehabilitated and returned to their ocean home. These numbers pushed us to a new milestone–we celebrated our 250th release in March!

2019 wasn't without its surprises, though. The arrival of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle, dubbed Cheddar, in November was unexpected. Cold-stunned turtles typically come from the northeast, but Cheddar was found in St. Michaels, Maryland, just a few weeks prior to the arrival of 19 cold-stunned turtles from Cape Cod, the first of a new winter season.

After an intake featuring exams, antibiotics and swim tests, these patients are now in the midst of rehabilitation. We're counting down the days until the first release of 2020!

Rescued grey seals nicknamed Edwin Hubble and George Washington Carver are released back into the Atlantic Ocean as a crowd looks in Ocean City on May 23, 2019.

Harp Seals, Grey Seals and a First-Ever Double Release

2019 was a year filled with great success stories—which comes as no surprise, given our seal naming theme for the year.

Famous scientists were the namesakes of our 2019 seal rescues. Harp seal Marie Tharp was first to arrive in late January. She was quickly joined by Sally Ride a few short weeks later, and then grey seals Edwin Hubble, George Washington Carver and Albert Einstein.

Marie was released on Assateague State Park in early April, and Sally followed in Ocean City, Maryland a few weeks later … watched eagerly by a crowd of 300 spectators!

Coincidentally, Edwin's recovery was perfectly timed with that of his suitemate George Washington Carver. When they arrived, both seals were lethargic and underweight. The two were released together in the National Aquarium's first-ever double seal release on May 23!

Albert Einstein outlasted George and Edwin's stay. He stranded in Dewey Beach, Delaware, in May and was found in poor condition. Albert spent four months undergoing rehabilitation–he had a broken jaw, wounds and infections, but left our care in fantastic shape when he was released in July on the beaches of New Jersey.

Our hardworking animal care and rescue teams provide excellent care to animals with a variety of needs. We are inspired by their actions and can't wait to see what (and who!) 2020 brings.

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