06/16/16 7:07am
06/16/2016 7:07 AM

Robert DiGiovanni, center, helps release Tucker, a seal found in East Quogue, back into the water after it was rehabbed at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Rehabilitation.

For more than 20 years the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has worked to protect the area’s marine environment through conservation efforts. It is the only organization authorized by New York State to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals and sea turtles.

Since its inception, Robert DiGiovanni had served as the nonprofit’s director and senior biologist. Now, it appears Mr. DiGiovanni’s tenure with the organization has come to an abrupt end.  READ

12/10/14 5:00pm
12/10/2014 5:00 PM
Daniella Ferina, Riverhead Foundation staff biologist, administering warmed IV fluids Wednesday morning to a sea turtle. (Credit: Riverhead Foundation)

Daniella Ferina, Riverhead Foundation staff biologist, administering warmed IV fluids Wednesday morning to a sea turtle. (Credit: Riverhead Foundation)

After rescuing two endangered sea turtles in just 24 hours, biologists with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation are asking residents to keep an eye out for cold-stunned sea turtles following Tuesday’s nor’easter.

High tides along the north shore after 3 p.m today could leave turtles stranded on north facing beaches, exposing them to frigid water and air temperatures, according to the organization.

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08/29/13 7:00pm
08/29/2013 7:00 PM
RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne, a Risso's dolphin was released Wednesday morning.

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne, a Risso’s dolphin was released Wednesday morning.

Roxanne, the 700-pound Risso’s dolphin found marooned on a Jones Beach Island sandbar, is swimming freely once again after being released Wednesday by her caretakers from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research.

Riverhead Foundation officials were seeking help raising funds needed for her release from rehabilitation. In all, about $35,000 was needed to completely fund her rehabilitation and release, according to a foundation spokeswoman.

The 9-foot dolphin was transported by truck to the Shinnecock Commercial Dock in Hampton Bays about 8:30 a.m., where she was loaded onto Stony Brook University’s boat, Sea Wolf.

The Sea Wolf took her 20 miles offshore, where she was released into ocean waters, according to a release.

It took an 18-member team, a crane, a transport truck and the Sea Wolf to carry her back into the ocean, according to the non-profit’s officials.

She was fitted with a satellite tracking device. Her travels can soon be tracked on the foundations webpage.

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08/21/13 8:00am
08/21/2013 8:00 AM
Riverhead Foundation Courtesy Photo | Roxanne and foundation volunteers during a physical at the Riverhead aquarium.

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne and foundation volunteers during a physical.

A campaign to raise funds for the release of the Riverhead Foundation’s newest patient is making waves.

Roxanne, an adult Risso’s dolphin was rescued just south of Oak Beach on Jones Beach Island in Babylon June 6. The U.S. Coast Guard found her struggling from dehydration and gastric bleeding on a sand bar, according to officials from the non-profit.

Foundation volunteers transported Roxanne on a stretcher, loading the 9-foot, 600-pound dolphin into the back of a vehicle and brought her to her current home in Riverhead.

“Roxanne is now healthy and thriving,” according to the press release. “She eats over 75 pounds of squid each day, and interacts with staff along with her enrichment devices.”

Roxanne will need an 18 member team, a crane, a transport truck and a vessel to carry her back into ocean waters. She will also be fitted with a satellite tracking device in order to provide data on how she behaves after her release.

In all, about $35,000 is needed to completely fund her rehabilitation and release, according to a foundation spokeswoman.

Her story aired last Thursday night on WABC’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News, generating more than $4,500 in donations in the 24 hours following the broadcast.

The network included the hashtag #FreeRoxanne, which is now being used to spread Roxanne’s story on Facebook and Twitter.

More information about Roxanne can be found on her donation page, and a real-time view of her can be seen on the foundation’s website.

Foundation officials said they hope to release Roxanne in early September.

Riverhead Foundation Courtesy Photo | Roxanne in her tank at the Riverhead Aquarium.

RIVERHEAD FOUNDATION COURTESY PHOTO | Roxanne in her tank at the Riverhead Foundation.

08/09/13 5:00pm
08/09/2013 5:00 PM
COURTESY | Anchor, a Loggerhead sea turtle makes his way home to bay waters.

COURTESY | Anchor, a Loggerhead sea turtle making his way home to bay waters on Tuesday.

Eight endangered sea turtles waddled their way back into bay waters Tuesday, a record for the number turtles released in one day by caretakers at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

The turtles were released into Hampton Bays waters at two separate times.

Seven Kemp’s Ridley turtles were released following rehabilitation after they were discovered cold stunned, or hypothermic, this winter.

COURTESY | Two of the Kemp's Ridleys sea turtles on their way home.

COURTESY | Two of the Kemp’s Ridleys sea turtles on their way home.

Kemp’s Ridleys are considered the smallest marine turtle in the world, growing between 24 and 28 inches long and weighing up to 100 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Foundation also released a loggerhead sea turtle named Anchor that had been in rehabilitation since last August after swallowing a fish hook.

He was outfitted with a tracing device, so viewers can track his travels on the foundation’s website.

Loggerheads grow significantly larger than Kem’s Ridleys, to 3 feet in length and weighting up to 250 pounds, according to the NOAA.

According to the Foundation, the 2012-2013 winter season brought and “unprecedented number” of turtles to the Northeast, with more than 100 turtles needing rehabilitation from Virginia to Maine.

A total amount of rescues for the Riverhead Foundation group was not immediately available.

Because sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles, they depend on external sources of heat to stay warm. During the winter’s cold temperatures, they must migrate to warmer waters.

COURTESY | A group of supporters look on as Anchor makes his way to the bay.

COURTESY | A group of supporters looked on as Anchor made his way to the bay.