Corpus Christi, TX (KXAN) – The Texas State Aquarium’s wildlife rescue program will receive a major upgrade next month. The state’s leading marine life rescue program, the program will soon open a new wildlife rescue center in Corpus Christi.
Until now, the program, which has helped sea turtles freeze over the winter and dolphins injured, has operated off-site.
Kristen Currie spoke with Jesse Gilbert, CEO and President of the Texas State Aquarium, about the new facility, how it benefits marine life, and why they’re showing visitors their creations.
For more information, watch the interview above or see the transcript below. This interview has been edited for clarity.
KRISTEN CURRIE, KXAN News: Whether you’re a longtime Texas resident or new to Texas, you’ve got a very nice aquarium in your backyard. I’m talking about the Texas State Aquarium. Joining us today is our CEO and President, his Jesse Gilbert. Tell us a little bit about the uniqueness of the Texas State Aquarium.
Jesse Gilbert, Texas State Aquarium: It is the largest and official aquarium in Texas and is located on the Gulf Coast in Corpus Christi Bay. You can have a great day coming to the aquarium and seeing a variety of fish, sharks, bottlenose dolphins, otters and ocelots.
You can see all kinds of animals in the Texas area. You can also walk through jungle exhibits where you’ll encounter flamingos and various animal encounters that call home the Yucatan Peninsula, a type of Cancun region. .
You can have a wonderful time with your family and friends. I think the great thing about it is knowing that all of that initial cost will not only help you take care of the animals here, but also enjoy our wildlife rescue program.
Curie: For those who haven’t been or have been, a new wildlife sanctuary is opening soon. talk to me about it?
Gilbert: The aquarium has had a wildlife conservation program since the mid 90’s. It is the premier wildlife conservation program for marine life in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, seeing more than 1,000 cases annually.
Sea turtles have been a big part of our work over the last few years. Marine mammals, dolphins, manatees and various birds. This program has been a very active program for the last 20-25 years. It was all done at an offsite facility about two miles away.
The new Port of Corpus Christi Wildlife Rescue Center will open in March of this year. So guests can actually see this work in action.
When these animals get into trouble, whether it’s cold weather like the one we’re experiencing in Texas, or some kind of wind or hurricane, or whatever the disaster is, guests can actually use a variety of techniques. you can see that A place to truly restore Texas wildlife, make sure those populations are resilient, make sure Texas is a good place for nature.
Curie: Who are you collaborating with? Or just in-house?
Gilbert: we do. That’s why we have a great relationship with Texas A&M. It is part of various campuses within the system, primarily here in Corpus Christi and Kingsville. Therefore, a lot of research is being done on endangered species.
What’s unique about the rescue program is that we see very large numbers of endangered animals, mostly sea turtles and the occasional manatee.
We have the opportunity to study these populations. What can we learn about these populations? Because it is unusual for him to have 1600 sea turtles in one place at a time. The program thus facilitates highly advanced research into wildlife resilience and how it can help restore endangered populations.
Curie: And you know, what brought this to me is the fact that here at KXAN we’ve been talking lately about the sea turtles that call South Texas home and the fact that there was a huge spike in sea turtles last year. Huh?
Gilbert: absolutely. Therefore, viewers have probably seen many videos about loggerhead turtle reactions and green turtle reactions this year. This year has been a historic year for the Aquarium Rescue Program. We brought in a giant loggerhead turtle that was washed ashore on a barrier island here in South Texas. Again, all work was done at these offsite facilities about two miles away.
In March you can see it up close. See what this wildlife looks like when it emerges from the beach and how it recovers. You can see them in different states of care. You may see them, but they’re bandaged and hit with votes.
Also great is being able to see the hospital setting where these animals live. They will recover and go through rehab, but they will also be able to see all the medical care that goes into it, so there will be a window into the surgery area so that his CAT scans, dedicated to wildlife in Texas, will be available. Become. A dolphin may be passing through her CT scanner and you can see all this in real time. Watch it live.
I really hope that people continue to appreciate the nature of Texas as well as inspire the next group. We need to make sure we preserve that legacy for generations to come.
https://www.kxan.com/news/science/frozen-sea-turtles-and-wounded-dolphins-will-receive-help-at-new-texas-state-aquarium-facility/ Texas State Aquarium Announces New Wildlife Rescue Center