Miami’s Animal Conservation & Rescue Effort

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Frost Science

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Turtle Conservation

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By: Shayne Benowitz

South Florida is home to one of the most unique and delicate ecosystems, from Biscayne Bay’s mangrove islands to the Atlantic Ocean’s coral reefs and Gulf Stream current. This marine habitat provides the nesting and breeding grounds for countless marine species, including wading birds, dolphins, manatees and subtropical fish. Miami is also on the forefront of resiliency and sustainability efforts when it comes to sea level rise and climate change. We want to protect this paradise for generations to come. When you visit, there are many ways to learn more about Miami’s climate and ecosystem through museums, volunteering and simply cracking into a cold one. Read on to learn about the conservation, rescue and sustainability efforts going on in Miami.

Miami Seaquarium

Home to Flipper, Miami Seaquarium opened its doors in 1955 with a commitment to rescue and rehabilitation of manatees, sea turtles, dolphins and whales. Maime, an injured three-week old, 47-pound manatee was their first rescue. With a rescue, rehabilitation and release program, they serve as one of three critical care facilities in the state of Florida for wildlife. The Florida Marine Patrol and US Fish & Wildlife Services call upon the Miami Seaquarium when they find an animal in distress and their team of divers, veterinarians and animal caretakers respond. The Seaquarium is also committed to conservation and sustainability education for its visitors through interactive exhibits and shows. In the past decade, they’ve rehabilitated 84 manatees and 175 sea turtles and counting!

Frost Science

When Frost Science opened Downtown in 2017, it was a game changer for Miami’s conservation science and education community. The 250,000-square-foot science museum boasts both a state-of-the-art planetarium and a 500,000-gallon, three-level open-tank aquarium. With a commitment to South Florida’s ecosystem, they’ve also instituted a number of conservation initiatives, including Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MUVE) and the Inventors in Residence Lab.

Since the launch of MUVE, 10,000 volunteers have restored more than 25 acres of mangroves, freshwater wetlands, dune habitats and coastal forests, which act as critical habitats for marine birds, fish and mammals. More than 24,000 museum visitors have engaged with the Inventors in Residence Lab where they’ve gotten a behind-the-scenes look at science in action through their coral reef restoration work. The museum’s treasured taxa programming studies and protects threatened marine organisms. Exotic and invasive species also pose a threat to South Florida’s marine ecosystem and Frost Science intervenes by removing these species in order to protect the native habitat. The invasive and exotic species are then exhibited at the museum.

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station

Founded in 1980, the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station is dedicated to caring for and rehabilitating brown pelicans, as well as all native seabirds, mammals and reptiles. Located on the 79th Street Causeway in North Bay Village, which connects Miami Beach to the mainland, injured wildlife can be dropped off 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through the years, they’ve treated over 320,000 patients. Their staff rescues, rehabilitates and releases these animals back into the wild. They also work with a team of volunteers who help with cleaning and feeding of the animals.

To help educate the public about seabirds and South Florida’s marine ecosystem, they host monthly seabird cruises on the bay at sunset or under the full moon. They cruise for two hours and scan the mangroves of Bird Key’s rookery, which serves as the habitat for more than 30 species of birds, including brown pelicans, egrets, cormorants and frigate birds.

Biscayne Bay Brewing Company

Whenever you crack open a frosty Lite Haus Pilsner from Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, you’re drinking to marine conservation efforts. The Doral-based brewery is donating a portion of its sales to the South Florida National Parks Trust. The proceeds will go towards cleanup efforts in Biscayne National Park aimed at sea turtle conservation where they’ve already removed 444 pounds of debris in 2019. Unwinding with a cold one will never tasted so good!

More About Miami's Nature

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