Mystic Aquarium team trains with new off-road response vehicle

Mystic Aquarium team trains with new off-road response vehicle

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Members of Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program underwent training Friday with their new response vehicle at East Beach in Charlestown.

The vehicle is essentially an ambulance for larger marine mammals such as dolphins and porpoises.

Animal Rescue Program Manager Janelle Schuh said the vehicle’s most prominent feature is that it allows them to go off-road, which should speed up response times.

“We can now pull our vehicle right up to the animal, if it’s that debilitated, put it right in the truck and start treating it right there, right away before we get back to the aquarium,” she explained.

The truck has shelving units, a drop-down work table and a winch, according to Schuh.

The training on Friday featured several “real world” scenarios and the use of various recovery methods. Schuch said attendees were given a look at not only what goes into animal rescue but also the diligence of Mystic Aquarium’s safety and security.

“We’re working with overland experts to learn how to properly utilize our very large animal rescue vehicle on the beach safely, appropriately and environmentally friendly,” she said.

“Primarily, our responses are for a different seal species,” Schuh added. “We do have an adult gray seal in our rehab clinic right now. We had her in the back in her transport crate when we picked her up.”

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