The New York Marine Rescue Center Oceans of Hope Gala

by Stefan Lonce

The New York Marine Rescue Center has announced its “Oceans of Hope Gala” will take place on Friday, August 19th at 6:30pm at the Long Island Aquarium to benefit the sea turtles and seals that are rehabilitated in their facility each year.

Individual tickets are $250 and include food, drinks, live music and dancing. Raffle tickets and auction items are available for an additional fee.

All attendees have the opportunity to tour their facility and meet thier patients.

The New York Marine Rescue Center has rescued more than 3,900 animals since inception in 1996. Under research efforts, rehabilitated animal release and tracking is one of their primary goals. Tracking information through satellite tags, radio tags, and flipper tags provides valuable information on the various species as they re-enter the wild. The data obtained assists in furthering our mission of preserving and protecting the marine environment through conservation efforts including education, rehabilitation, and research. Since 1996, they have rehabilitated and released over 119 sea turtles, 762 seals, and 7 cetaceans.

Each animal is unique, and rehabilitation procedures are determined on a case-by-case basis. Just as when humans go to the doctor, each animal that goes to NYMRC has a program tailored to suit their needs. When a report is received, a team of biologists, interns, and/or volunteers conducts a field assessment to determine if the animal does in fact need to come back for rehabilitation. Sometimes if the animal appears to be in good condition, it will be left on the beach for monitoring. Not all animals on the beach are stranded and need rehabilitation.

When an animal arrives back at their facility, it is triaged. A physical exam is performed by biologists with a team of interns and volunteers, data is collected through examinations and blood work, and volunteer veterinarians make a diagnosis. Some examinations include taking measurements to see if the animal is within normal range for its species, temperature and heart rate are checked, radiographs to check the lungs, and blood samples to determine infection, dehydration, and more. The in-house lab allows them to perform many of these vital tests.

After a plan of action is determined for the animal, they work alongside the volunteer veterinarians to bring the animal back to good health. The average seal spends eight weeks in rehabilitation, and the average sea turtle spends 242 days. Once an animal is healthy again, and is determined to be successful if released into the wild, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries will grant approval for release.

Before any animal is released, NYMRC staff provides various types of tags that help identify these individuals during future sightings. All released marine mammals and sea turtles receive a tag with a specific ID number which is attached to the hind flipper for seals and sea turtles and on the dorsal fin for cetaceans.

One type of tag that provides important information are called telemetry devices, which include satellite tags. NYMRC can attach these devices to released candidates to help further understand their behavior post rehabilitation. These satellite tags allow us to track the animal’s movement pattern and provide insight on what these animals do once they have been given a second chance at life.
All of this data helps support the New York Marine Rescue Center’s marine mammal and sea turtle conservation work.

Founded in 1996, the New York Marine Rescue Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which relies on public donations to help support the various efforts which include response and rehabilitation of marine mammals and sea turtles as well as community outreach and educational programs.

Their mission is to:

  • Provide a sustainable response effort for marine mammals and sea turtles stranding throughout NY;
  • Operate the only facility in New York permitted to rehabilitate marine mammals and sea turtles;
  • Collect sound science to help identify stranding trends, highlight viruses and continue to protect endangered and threatened species; and
  • Encourage conservation and stewardship of the marine environmental through scientific research and public educational programs.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit thier website at: