team as a whole, but because theindividual team members have somuch to oer.”In 2008, the expandingrelationship between the FWCand the zoo organizations led tothe co-location o FWC biologistson Jacksonville Zoo and Gardensgrounds, including marinemammal, reshwater fsh, and seaturtle sta. Being on zoo grounds– in what is now known as theJacksonville Zoo Field Lab – isideal or quick volunteer response.FWC biologists are looking tocontinue the strong relationshipwith the zoo through jointactivities, such as the JacksonvilleRight Whale Festival and otherprojects.Today, the Marine MammalRescue Team is running so strongthat participation is currentlycapped at 40 team members.“It’s a great way or the zoo sta to be directly involved in localconservation,” comments the zooteam coordinator Craig Miller.FWC marine mammal biologistscertainly appreciate all o theassistance rom the zoo rescueteam, and with the ever-growingrelationship, it’s exciting to think o what may develop next!–
By Nadia Gordon
he Florida Fish and WildlieConservation Commission(FWC) is dedicated to managingfsh and wildlie resources ortheir long-term well-being andthe beneft o people. The FWC’sFish and Wildlie ResearchInstitute Marine Mammal Section,headquartered in Jacksonville,specializes in marine mammalrescue and recovery.The duties associated withmammal rescue and recovery aretime intensive, and, as a result,require the assistance o a broadand enthusiastic volunteer base.FWC employees in Jacksonvillecultivated a corps o volunteers whoassist with everything rom dataentry to marine mammal rescues.A truly unique relationship isthe one with Jacksonville Zoo andGardens. In the summer o 2006,FWC marine mammal biologistAndy Garrett visited JacksonvilleZoo and Gardens to providetraining in marine mammalassessment, rescue and recoveryand to explain the responsibilitieso volunteering with FWC. Interestwas high and 30 volunteers wererecruited – many with previousanimal experience and allaccustomed to hard work. This wasthe inception o the zoo’s MarineMammal Rescue Team.FWC marine mammal biologistsprovide regular training or thezoo’s rescue team, includinginstruction on how to saely operateequipment, and set up mock rescueevents, where team members arerequired to haul in a 50-gallonbarrel painted to look like amanatee.Having so many skilledvolunteers centrally locatedallows the FWC to make a singlephone call to the zoo and receiveample volunteers or rescues,transports and carcass recoveries.The dedicated veterinarian sta members at the zoo also play anintegral role in assisting, especiallywith marine mammal stranding.The zoo team is authorized to veriyand transport manatees, and is amember o the National Oceanicand Atmospheric AdministrationSoutheast Marine MammalStranding Network (primarilyresponsible or dolphins andwhales). Rachel Cimino, FWCmarine mammal biologist, notes,“A relationship like this is rare andvery special, not just because o the
FWC and Jacksonville Zoo set up jointmarine rescue team
–Photo courtesy of FWC
Marine mammal rescue team volunteers pull a manateeaboard the FWC manatee capture boat.
Winter 2010-2011Vol. 1 Issue 3
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission