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In the Florida Keys and a Winter and Hope Update


Here's a kiss to the Keys saying "This is the life".

Here’s a kiss to the Keys saying “This is the life”.

Hey there everyone,

This is Jenna writing finally, after a while. I have been very busy lately due to online college work and my current internship at a Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, FL which has slowed me down a lot recently to the point where I no longer had anytime to blog about my experiences. So, now that my finals for the semester are out of the way, I can finally get to blog about how things have been going down here in the Florida Keys.

Theater of the Sea

I personally love my internship at Theater of the Sea. So, far, I have had the best five weeks of my life getting my foot in the animal training field through some hands-on experience with the dolphins, sea lions, and rays at the park. So far, I have done some water-work training sessions with the dolphins and a sea lion named Bella as well as a couple of feeding sessions here and there with the sting rays at stingray beach. In addition, I have been assisting a lot with getting music ready for the shows and picking out volunteers to meet the animals up-close in person. Some of these people have even asked me to picked them to meet the animals too like this one grandmother from France who came to the Keys with her young grandson because he wanted to see a dolphin. When she came up to me, I was so touched by her story how it was her grandson’s dream to meet a real dolphin that I had to pick him to meet one and so, after I fulfilled his wish, I picked him for a second time to toss rings to Wilbur the sea lion and believe me, he wowed the crowed by throwing the ring from a far distance. It felt so good granting some kid his life-long wish because this is the kind of stuff that most people may never get the chance to do and also, it was Christmas and I was taught for a long time that Christmas is not really about the presents you get under the Christmas tree, it’s more about caring for those who really want to be cared for.

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter has Finally been Paired with Hope

With a lot of delight, I am very happy to day that Tampa Bay’s Bay News 9 has confirmed that Winter the dolphin has finally been paired with Hope almost one year after Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s youngest bottlenose dolphin was first moved to the Winter Zone from the Dolphin Zone where she had been residing since the winter of 2011. The CMA staff is reporting that Winter and Hope have been getting along very well and the introduction has been a huge success. Congrats to Winter and Hope and a very successful introduction.

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Back to Life in the Keys….

Since my internship is a paid one, I have decided that I will be using all my current paychecks to pay to have my SCUBA lessons be done down here in Key Largo since I found out that it’s very expensive to get certified up north while it’s cheaper down here. Plus, I have always wanted to go scuba diving in Florida’s coral reefs  and see the ship wrecks that are down there. This would mean I would have stay in the Keys long after my internship ends and that would also mean finding a job down here too so that I would be able to help pay for the condo my mother and I are renting at the Moon Bay condominiums in Key Largo.  I am so glad that I’m spending the holidays in paradise because I don’t have to worry too much about the cold weather. Any way, I hope you all are having a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas everyone,

~Jenna~

Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.

Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.

 

More CMA Updates


The following below is a video containing a video clip of Winter, photo montage from my visit to CMA along with some updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium around 5:30 into the video.

For those who may not want to watch the video because it’s long, well, I will give you the news on this post right now.

Janis and I are experiencing a "hurricane" at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure which is located in downtown Clearwater.

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has a new facility that is located in downtown Clearwater. The museum, appropriately  named “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure” is the only movie museum in the entire world that’s dedicated to displaying props, recreated scenes and costumes from the movie “Dolphin Tale”. These props includes the real-life movie touch tank where you can meet and touch the real life resident critters of the pool and Winter’s real life prosthetic tails from the six years she has been at CMA. I have personally got to visit this museum and believe me, the staff and volunteers did a really great job putting this amazing museum together. You can get there by taking a trolley that back and forth from CMA to the museum.  It’s a really nice place to visit for anyone who loves “Dolphin Tale”, Winter the Dolphin, or CMA in general.

You can now see Bailey the Green sea turtle at the Dolphin Deck exhibit (the pool that was used to film certain scenes with Winter during the filming of "Dolphin Tale"). Photo by CMA.

  • Bailey, a paralyzed green sea turtle has been moved to the Dolphin Deck exhibit to fill the exhibition void that was left behind by bottlenose dolphin Hope when she was moved to the Winter Zone exhibit earlier this month. There, he will have enough room to swim around and receive therapeutic sessions from his care takers after living in the Turtle Cove exhibit for many years. He loves to hang around at the windows to check both himself and the public out. So, the next time you visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, be sure you check Bailey out at his new home in the Dolphin Deck exhibit.

You are never too young to save sea life (photo by CMA and the Davies Family).

  • In lieu of  of birthday presents, five year old Lucian Davies had birthday and New Year’s Day party guests donate specific items that would be useful to care for sick, injured, and orphaned dolphins, sea turtles and otters who come to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation purposes. The youngest has managed to collect 1,683 items including towels, zip-lock bags, dish-washing liquids, and sponges. They were delivered to Danielle O’Neil, director of the marine turtles programs at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last week. Great job Lucian and keep up the great work! :-).

A bird's eye view of what Winter the dolphin's new home would look like once it's complete (photo by CMA).

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has so far raised $3 million for their expansion project that would include a new home for Winter and her dolphin family. However, while construction has already started on the new facility, they still need to raise nine more million dollars in order to reach their $12 million goal. To learn more about how you can donate to the project, visit http://seewinter.com/get-involved/support-the-mission/ride-the-wave-capital-campaign and your donations will help both the animals at the aquarium and the project.

I hope you all have a great evening everyone and take care.

~Jenna~

 

Update on Hope (A.K.A., Winter’s Sister)


Hope in her new home at (Drums rolling).................The Winter Zone.

I am very happy to report that on January 4th (the day I visited Clearwater Marine Aquarium since the end of my first internship), Hope, a 14-month old bottlenose dolphin calf has been moved from the Dolphin Deck, to the Winter Zone. This move is just a major milestone for this dolphin because the plan is to introduce her to both Winter and Panama in the near future. However, Hope will likely be first paired with Panama who would serve as an adoptive mother to her like she has to Winter. If this goes well, then they will try to pair her with Winter who would serve as her adoptive sister (Winter tried to interact with Hope behind the gate walls just moments before her training session which left Winter swimming back to one of main gates). Just to keep you more updated, Hope has been weaned from her bottle and continues to learn new behaviors on a daily basis.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone


Even Winter says Merry Christmas too (photo of Winter was taken by a CMA photographer and the card was made on pizap.com)

Merry Christmas Everyone and may you all have a Happy New Year too. I hope you all got the chance to see Winter and her friends at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this year and may you all get that same chance next year too.
~Jenna~

The Importance of Zoos and Aquariums (a 2010 article from the Orlando Sentinel)


SeaWorld is more than just a marine park......It does it part, like many other zoological facilities to help wildlife and educate the public about them.

In response to the recent lawsuit PETA (hate that group by the way!) has filed against SeaWorld over the keeping of killer whales in their care, I have decided to post a one-year-old article that Ocean Embassy vice President, Mark Simmons wrote for the Orlando Sentinel about the true inner workings of zoological facilities regarding their role in saving wildlife while educating others in the process. I have read it several times and it’s amazing to see how zoo professionals are doing their part to make a difference in our world today and you should read it and apperciate the great works that facilities like SeaWorld, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and others do on a daily basis. Enjoy and you are welcome for sharing this article:

“Look at good Works in Rating Captivity’s Ethics”

By Mark Simmons, Vice President  of Ocean Embassy on March 12th, 2010

The recent tragedy at SeaWorld, beyond the grieving of a community over a whale trainer’s death, has stimulated discussion about captivity.

Anti-captivity groups have called for the release of Tilikum and the end of SeaWorld. They have likened the most advanced zoological facility in the world with prison and named SeaWorld, and in effect all U.S.-permitted and fully accredited zoological institutions, as money- hungry profit-mongers.

However, monetary interest in captive animals is not exclusive to zoological parks. The groups calling for Tilikum’s release raise money on the same public display of animals. Their business model is well-refined: They raise more in donations with the least cost of marketing on captive dolphin and whale issues than any other single issue.

Is profit a dirty word when it comes to conservation? Studies on environmental movements have linked conservation to prosperity. They reveal that we concern ourselves with conservation only after our basic needs are met, i.e. when we are prosperous. As individuals, we intuitively know this to be true.

Zoological institutions are no different than individuals in regard to the relationship between conservation and prosperity. As a professional community, zoos and aquariums have funded more than 3,700 conservation projects in more than 100 countries and spend nearly $70 million each year on conservation initiatives, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This is possible not only because they possess the knowledge, but because they have the financial capacity.

In contrast, anti-captivity nonprofit organizations don’t spend enough on helping animals or their ecosystems. They do not pay taxes on the money they raise, and a large percentage of their proceeds go to salaries, advertising and lobbying activities.

Who is the more responsible corporate citizen?

In 1998, Ocean Futures Society, the Humane Society of the United States and Earth Island Institute attempted to release Keiko (of Free Willy notoriety) to the wild. During this release campaign, they raised more than $20 million in tax-free donations and produced several documentary films.

As concluded in a scientific report issued by U.S. and Greenland authorities, the Keiko release project was a failure. After only a few weeks on his own, he sought out human contact and exhibited nuisance behavior following boats and looking for handouts. Keiko died of pneumonia in 2003. The experiment was perhaps the most compelling case of animal exploitation in history.

The argument against captivity seeks to isolate zoos and aquariums from all other forms of animal use in society. The importance of animals in our society and the plight of quality zoological facilities cannot be so easily reduced to catch phrases like “prison” or “life in a bathtub.” Trainers are not wardens, and the animals are provided the best care in mental, physical, social and environmental stimulation. They are given the highest quality of nutrition and medical care and a clean, hazard-free environment.

Conversely, animals in the wild face ever-increasing threats from toxins, depleted food supply and a degrading habitat. They are forced to travel farther and farther to find sustenance.

At least 19 species have been saved from absolute extinction by zoological institutions, including black-footed ferrets and California condors. In many tangible ways, SeaWorld and other leading zoological parks are modern-day arks.

It has been said that awareness and the emotional motivation to act are the greatest conservation challenges of our time. About 175 million people visit zoos and aquariums in the United States every year. When the day comes that the oceans are clean, food sources are abundant and society can act as one in the preservation of wildlife and their ecosystems, then maybe we will not need the constant reminder or the sanctuary that zoos provide.

Until then, there are few organizations — for profit or not — that reach as many people and animals as this important social institution.

Link to Original Article: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-03-12/news/os-ed-mark-simmons-captivity-ethics-0312120100311_1_captivity-zoos-and-aquariums-keiko

Animals in human care, whether if it's a killer whale, a lion, or lemur, are ambassadors to their wild counterparts.

Update on CMA (A Report from my friends back in Clearwater)


If you plan to visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this little trailer is where you will have to get your tickets from. (photo by a Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff)

Here is a new update on CMA and how you will be expecting changes that will be going on there pretty soon. Yes, the aquarium is getting perpared. Here is what they have to say:

Keep your eyes open for a lot of upcoming changes…things are about to get crazy! Yet this is an extremely exciting time for us and we so honored to be able to spread the word and educate the world on our mission of rescuing, rehabbing and releasing marine life.

We have been making plans to expand our square footage to improve the guest experience. Also, with the West Side construction starting soon we needed to add portable restrooms as our old restrooms are being bulldozed very soonAdding tents on the North side of the building covered both issues. We are now operational with our new ticket trailers. These will relieve the bottleneck indoors where ticket sales and retail sales had shared the same area. Once our guest purchases a ticket they will walk into the fenced area where a Guest Service Specialist will greet the guest and verify they have purchased a ticket.Once inside the fence the guests are now free to roam the entire guest side of the building and come and go from the building to the fenced area to utilize the restrooms and the activities that the Hospitality team will provide under the tents.

We have designated new handicapped parking spaces beside the ticket trailers to ensure a positive guest experience for our disabled guests. We have reclassified the restroom by surgery as our ADA restroom as the restrooms outside are not designed for ADA.”

——Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s blog at blog.seewinter.com

Keep in mind that this is not the only current change that is going on right now, the aquarium has also reported that they completed renovation on the sea turtle ICU which re-opened last Monday. This area now has air conditioning, which will keep the turtles cool on the hottest of days, a new drop ceiling with improved lighting, a new glass door, which will allow guests to view the area and two cameras which will serve as “live feeds” for guests to watch the turtles in quarantine pools without having to go into the area. Meanwhile, CMA has recently been only opening up to the public at 1:00 PM due to media interest in the upcoming movie “Dolphin Tale”.

These are all the latest updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Hope you get the chance to visit. Oh, Safe trip and great experience to everyone attending the 2011 IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association) conference in Miami, FL this week. I hope you guys have a great experience.

~Jenna~

CMA Dolphin Story: Hope (A.K.A., Winter’s Sister)


Hope

Hope is the most curious of the four dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

On December 11th, 2010 (about five years and one day after Winter’s rescue), Hope, who was estimated to be two to three months old, was found attempting to nurse from the carcass of her dead mother in Indian River Lagoon, FL. Due to being parentless, Hope was transfered to Clearwater Marine Aquarium under orders of the US National Marine Services for rehabilitation purposes. She has suffered from trauma and at the time of her rescue, her condition was believed to be fragile. Not only was she found in the same region in Florida where Winter was found, she was also rescued by the same two organizations that found Winter too. During her first few weeks at CMA, Hope was given 24 hour care by both the staff and volunteers and she was fed every two hours. Since she’s a young calf, Hope  is fed by bottle. The formula in the bottle is made with a combination of fish, powdered milk substitute, and water that is all blended together to created a “fish milkshake”. Today, Hope, who lives at the Dolphin Deck Exhibit, is almost one year old and weights in at 150 pounds (she’s is continuing to grow constantly!).  Hope was declared “non-releasable” in early 2011 due to her young age at the time of  rescue. This is because Hope was never taught to neither hunt or defend herself from her mother, who she would have stayed with for up to six years in the wild. Although people can teach a dolphin how to hunt, they can’t teach them how to identify which animals are  predators, how to avoid boats, and use sonar to navigate through murky waters. So, instead, she will continue to reside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium as permanent resident. Hope has been fully trained to do various behaviors for medical, mental, and developmental purposes. She is also being taught how to swallow fish on her own. The ultimate goal is to introduce Hope to Winter and eventually pair them up as sisters once she has been weaned off the bottle completely.