FEBRUARY 2018 Edition
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Will ZOO be our Valentine?
A Whale of a BAMZ Tale
ZOOM Around the Sound
Loggerhead Turtles Released
It's Phone-a-thon time!
BUZZ Beastro to open in March
Aqua Camps registration opens March 1st
Soiree raises $200,000 for turtle conservation
Thank you to Saltus P1's for your kindness
Pre-Inventory Sale at the Shop at BAMZ
You may recall a few weeks ago the story of the short finned Pilot whale that was found off Devonshire Dock. The staff of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) were called to the scene, as they are the government entity responsible for handling marine mammal strandings, which are protected species. 
Aquarist, Jorge Sanchez, Museum staff member, Jennifer Gosling and Museum Curator, Dr. Robbie Smith identify the species of the short finned pilot whale.
This is not the first whale incident that the staff of BAMZ have had to manage over the years. Some notable examples are:
  • In August 1995, a 60-foot Fin whale carcass was noticed to be caught on the bow of a cruise ship, the Royal Majesty, when it arrived in St. George's.
  • In 2007, a 33-foot-long Humpback whale was found dead near Hungry Bay on the South Shore. Jennifer Gray, the then Biodiversity Action Plan Coordinator for Conservation Services, and Patrick Talbot, who at the time was Head Aquarist at BAMZ, were the first to respond to the report.
  • In March 2010, a dead juvenile Sperm whale was found floating by the rocks off Wreck Hill, Sandy's.
  • In 2012 a 17ft Minke whale calf became disorientated in the shallows of St. George’s harbour. It died within minutes of the arrival of Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo and Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences staff, affording scientists a rare opportunity to collect samples.
Curator Patrick Talbot assessing juvenile Sperm Whale
Jennifer Gray and Katherine Nesbitt, taking measurements of Humpback Whale
Fisheries vessel preparing to tow Humpback Whale offshore.
In each one of these cases, BAMZ staff were always the first on the scene, and were often joined by other departmental staff, teams of veterinarians, staff from Dolphin Quest or even helpful members of the public. 

After the short finned pilot whale was brought to BAMZ, Dr. Ian Walker, Principal Curator and onsite veterinarian, conducted tests and took samples to determine its cause of death. These samples were sent to an overseas lab for evaluation and it will be weeks until the final results are received.

As was mentioned in the RG article, it was decided that BAMZ would look to preserve the whale’s skeleton for educational purposes. In order to obtain the skeleton, it was decided that the best way would be to allow the whale to decay naturally over time. 
The difficulty arose when trying to determine how to prevent the loss of any parts of the skeleton; if the carcass was left above ground or placed underwater to be scavenged, there would be the potential for carrion-birds and aquatic scavengers to take pieces of the skeleton away.

So the decision was made to wrap the carcass in tarpaulin, and then buried in a 2ft grave on a secluded beach that will not impact the public. In this way, the body would decay and be scavenged by insects, but the full skeleton would remain intact.

Over the next year BAMZ staff will periodically check on the carcass, and the thought is that in a year or so, the skeleton will be ready to be retrieved from the gravesite. 
The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo are happy to report that Ely and Sheldon the loggerhead turtles have been safely released back into the wild.  
In late January, after many reported sightings of Sargassum seaweed in the area, it was decided that both juvenile loggerheads should be released. BAMZ staff had been awaiting sightings of large amounts of seaweed, as this would be the juveniles’ habitat for the next 15 to 25 years.
Although the aquarists were more than prepared to make the necessary 10-15 mile journey offshore to locate a good release sight for the turtles, there was an opportunity for a civilian to release them instead. 

Over the years BAMZ staff have had the opportunity to develop a relationship with local fishermen, and this creates opportunities where the fishermen either bring “odd” catches to the facility, such as the situation with Daisy the loggerhead , or they offer to release animals back into the wild.
Peter Flook, fisherman and brother of former BAMZ staff member Chris Flook, was the fisherman that made himself available in this case.

He took both turtles out 15 miles offshore and safely released them into a large mat of Sargassum seaweed.
Click on the image to read the article in the Royal Gazette.
The Bermuda Turtle Project's 50 th anniversary events culminated with a fabulous Sea Turtle Soirée, attended by some 235 guests and successfully raising $200,000 to support the future of this valued research and education initiative.

There was much to celebrate by project partners, the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) and the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC).
Amid STC’s initiatives on nesting beaches in Tortuguero, Costa Rica and the Bermuda Turtle Project in-water studies, these organisations hold the longest running studies on endangered sea turtles in the world.
To read the full article on Bernews, click here .
As part of their Kindness theme Saltus year 1’s visited Shelly Bay beach and collected trash along the shoreline. 
This was followed by a presentation from the Bermuda Turtle Project with focus on how human behaviours can harm sea turtles and tips on what can be done. The children reflected on how trash effects creatures and the environment and were inspired to not let the “waste” go to “waste”.
They got crafty and creative with their trash producing one masterpiece in particular that they named “Turtily”. Turtlily then became a class raffle prize and the children raised money for the Bermuda Turtle Project.