Mystic, Conn. (June 22, 2018): This Saturday, June 23, a team from Mystic Aquarium will kick-off their annual ‘Seal Scoot Summer Tour.’ Throughout the summer, members of the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Team will travel to some of the most popular area beaches along the Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline with the goal of increasing awareness of the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program.
Rescue staff and volunteers will travel approximately 45 miles of sea coast in an effort to educate beach-goers and the local community about native marine animals, their work in rescue and rehabilitation and the public’s role in the process.
“We have an amazing team of volunteers throughout the 1,000 miles of coastline we cover, but it’s usually members of the general public who provide us with the first alert of a marine animal sighting,” notes Janelle Schuh, Stranding Coordinator for Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program. “That’s why outreach like this is so vital to keep the community in the know and to continue the success of our program.”
Mystic Aquarium, as authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Marine Fisheries Service, responds to sightings and strandings of marine mammals and sea turtles in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, New York and is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network.
Specialized and compassionate care is provided by Aquarium veterinarians and animal care professionals for the rehabilitation of stranded and rescued animals with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the ocean environment. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need, educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants, and works to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet.
The Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Team relies heavily on residents of coastal towns in identifying animals in need of medical or rehabilitative intervention. Locals, who utilize Mystic Aquarium’s 24-hour hotline (860.572.5955 ext. 107) and adhere to proper protocol, are often the key to successful rescue.
“Caring for the seals in our clinic is an around-the-clock operation,” continued Schuh. “Our team depends on the information provided by a concerned citizen to determine the best plan of action – it’s really these individuals calling our hotline who are the first to help these animals in need of our care.”
The public is encouraged to meet with the Mystic Aquarium team along the kick-off route that will include the following stops:
9:00am – 12:00pm Blue Shutters Beach, Charlestown, RI
This beach is integral to Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program as it’s the site of many of the seal releases throughout the year.
2:00pm – 4:00pm Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, RI
Mystic River Park will be the next stop as part of the summer tour with outreach and activities planned for July 8 as part of Mystic River Day.
Several other dates and locations are pending throughout the summer with this year’s Seal Scoot adventure culminating on September 22 during Mystic Aquarium’s annual Mystic Wide Cleanup as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day. Members of the Mystic community and beyond are invited to pitch in at different sites throughout locations surrounding the Aquarium and along the Mystic River in an effort to clean up Mystic and celebrate the final stop of the Seal Scoot Summer Tour.
“Last year’s Seal Scoot was so much fun and was so well received and appreciated by our community that we wanted to expand our reach even more,” added Schuh. “Staff and volunteers of our Animal Rescue Program work tirelessly – day and night, year-round – to care for the animals in our clinic. In giving them a day at the beach, we hope people stop by to meet the team and, in the process, learn about the program and how they can get involved.”