My last day the the New England Aquarium was spent working with the rescued sea turtles at the rehab center in Quincy. A discrete industrial building, that looks nothing like it would house animals, is filled with quarantined animals, the sharks and rays that had been removed days before and the rescued turtles. When I had arrived there were only 6 turtles left from the over 200 that had been rescued. Many are rescued from being cold stunned or getting stuck in the arm of Cape Cod trying to migrate. They were divided into four tanks. Each gets regular check ups and is fed a certain diet, yet another example of how caring and individualized the aquarium is. While I was there I watched as turtles got check ups, weighing them, checking their vitals and looking at their shell making sure it was all healthy and didn’t have dents or scratches. After taking care of the turtles we headed down the wharf to get a few live crabs from the trap to give to the turtles as something of enrichment and to keep them on a healthy diet. The turtles can be pretty picky eaters and would just pass by the crab while other would lunge at it.
While I was at the rehab center I got the chance to watch a necropsy of a year old seal that had washed ashore. When I got into the room there were four or five people standing around the body that had been cut open ready to be dissected. I watched as each organ was carefully removed and samples taken and photos of anything abnormal. It was fascinating to see the body be taken apart and all the little parts that help the seal to function. For a while the head was lying on the table next to me as the heart and lungs were taken out and placed next to it. It was gruesome to watch but oddly interesting as well. The final diagnosis was that the seal likely died due to complication from emphysema of the lungs.
The week I spent at the New England Aquarium was awesome, I learned a lot and it was fantastic to see the inner workings of the aquarium I had been to so many time before. Thanks to Dan Dolan for a great week.