01/31/14 5:00pm
01/31/2014 5:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Noodle, a 2-year-old harbor porpoise, was successfully rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation after being found in a marsh in Brunswick, Maine by children on a school field trip in October.

The rescue and recovery of Noodle, the small toothed whale found marooned in a marsh just days before Hurricane Sandy knocked the East Coast, will be featured Saturday morning on ABC’s “Sea Rescue.” (more…)

11/24/13 12:00pm
11/24/2013 12:00 PM
BILL PETERS PHOTO

BILL PETERS PHOTO

Five months ago, Penny was found stranded on the beach near the Sands Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, not even a week old with her mother nowhere in sight.

But on Saturday, the young seal pup returned home.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation released the now 6-month-old rescued seal off Iron Pier beach as a crowd gathered to see her off. The foundation had nursed the seal, which was still dependent on its mother at the time of its rescue.

As a pup, Penny still needed the nutrients and high fat content that she would normally get from her mother’s milk. Penny was tube fed a special milk replacement formula that helped her gain weight.

The seal can now eat fish on its own and has grown to be a strong enough seal pup to be released, according to the Riverhead Foundation website.

psquire@timesreview.com

11/18/13 9:00am
11/18/2013 9:00 AM

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | Two members of the New York State Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue program examining a dead leatherback sea turtle at Miss Annie’s Creek in Mashomack.

A dead leatherback sea turtle washed up on a beach at Miss Annie’s Creek in the Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island over the weekend.

Spotted by paddle boarder Richard Ruscica and hikers along the Green Trail on Saturday afternoon, Preserve Director Mike Laspia was contacted.

Mr. Laspia secured the turtle by rope to prevent it from washing back into the creek and contacted the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue program at the Riverhead Foundation in Riverhead. An animal autopsy is scheduled for today to pinpoint the cause of death.

Leatherbacks are the largest turtles in the world, measuring up to seven feet and weighing up to 1,500 pounds. They can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Although they feed in cool waters, they breed and lay eggs in the tropics.

Their primary diet consists of jellyfish, but almost a third of all leatherbacks have evidence of plastic bags in their stomachs and intestines.

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.

06/10/13 10:00am
06/10/2013 10:00 AM
FACEBOOK PHOTO | Volunteers rescue a Risso's dolphin that became trapped on a sand bar near Oak Beach.

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead Foundation volunteers rescue a Risso’s dolphin that became trapped on a sand bar near Oak Beach.

Volunteers from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation added two new creatures to its hospital last week after they rescued a trapped dolphin and a 3-to-5-day-old harbor seal pup.

The harbor seal pup was found struggling in the surf in Atlantic Beach, N.Y. last Saturday, it’s umbilical cord still attached. The nonprofit group is uncertain whether the pup, later named Penny, was abandoned by her mother or if the high volume of people on the beach kept her mother from returning to the pup.

Penny is currently being cared for at the Riverhead Foundation’s Rescue Hospital, located at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead. She is fed a formula containing ground fish, vitamins and milk replacement formula five times per day, at a cost of about $300 a day.

The 9 foot long, 600 pound Risso’s dolphin is swimming in the Riverhead Foundation’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Hospital.

On Thursday, the second animal was rescued. The group was called to Oak Beach, N.Y., where a 9-foot-long, 600-pound adult female Risso’s dolphin was stuck on a sandbar.

A volunteer rescue team was taken to the sandbar by a U.S. Coast Guard Fire Island vessel, and with their aid, successfully rescued the dolphin.

She is currently receiving medical care at the our facility and will shortly be eating about 80 pounds of squid per day, which will amount to over $200 per day in food costs alone!

You can check on the progress of these two animals by following the group on Facebook. The Riverhead Foundation has asked for donations to help pay for the animals’ medical costs and to keep the nonprofit “ready and able to come to the aid of all marine mammals and sea turtles in need.”

04/28/13 10:45am
04/28/2013 10:45 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Riverhead Foundation release Noodle into the ocean Saturday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Riverhead Foundation release Noodle into the ocean Saturday morning.

Six months after he was first rescued from a marsh in Maine, Noodle the 2-year-old porpoise has been set free.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation released the small-toothed whale about five miles off of Shinnecock Inlet Saturday morning, marking the end of the porpoise’s rehabilitation.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Noodle, a two-year-old harbor porpoise was successfully rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation after being found in a marsh in Brunswick, Maine by children on a school field trip in October.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Noodle, a two-year-old harbor porpoise was successfully rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation after being found in a marsh in Brunswick, Maine by children on a school field trip in October.

Noodle was found by a group of school children on a field trip last October, just a week before Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast.

The young male porpoise couldn’t float on its own during the first 24 hours of its rescue, so researchers used foam noodles to keep him from sinking. The modified pool toys earned the porpoise his name: Noodle.

Noodle was fitted with a satellite tag to track his movements before he was released. You can see where Noodle has been by visiting the Riverhead Foundation website.

Nonprofit groups from New England helped move Noodle to the Riverhead Foundation’s care facility at the Long Island Aquarium. The Riverhead nonprofit is home to the only long-term rehabilitation tank large enough for an animal like Noodle in the region.

“It’s like having one hospital bed from Virginia to Maine,” said executive director and senior biologist for the foundation Robert DiGiovanni Jr. in an interview earlier this month.

Usually this type of marine animal is already too injured to be saved once found, he said.

The group has rescued more than 4,300 marine animals since it was founded in 1980. They now rehabilitate about 200 animals a year.

The group plans to release two seals brought in last month, Nala, a female gray seal, and Shenzi, a male harbor seal, Sunday afternoon, according to the group’s Facebook page.

psquire@timesreview.com

03/17/13 2:51pm
03/17/2013 2:51 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | The body of a female gray seal was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning.

A local marine non-profit group is investigating a dead adult seal that was found washed ashore in Southold earlier this weekend.

The female gray seal that was found on a Southold Town beach Saturday morning, said Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation director Robert DiGiovanni

The adult seal, which was about six and a half feet long, appeared to be underweight, he said. The Riverhead Foundation will conduct a necropsy in the next few days to try to determine the animal’s cause of death, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

It was once rare to find adult seals washing ashore on Long Island and most of the specimens found were young seals called “yearlings,” Mr. DiGiovanni said.

“We don’t get many adults washing up but we have been getting more over the years,” he said, adding that adults were washing ashore at numerous locations.

Mr. DiGiovanni believes a boom in the seal population is why the group has seen more adult seals bodies on shore lately.

“Their population is growing, it is expanding, and so we’re starting to see adults in areas where once we had only seen yearlings,” he said. “It’s just part of their population structure.”

In addition to conducting a necropsy of the latest seal to wash ashore, the Riverhead Foundation is also rehabilitating more than two dozen animals rescued from the area, including a harbor porpoise, seven seals and nearly 20 sea turtles, he said.

psquire@timesreview.com

10/20/12 3:02pm
10/20/2012 3:02 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rick Trojanowski of Calverton won the 15th annual Run for the Ridley 5K Saturday.

Rick Trojanowski wasn’t always a runner.

It wasn’t until the Calverton resident had his two children and decided that cycling races were taking up too much of his time that he started to run. He could get up in the morning and put a few miles in before work and it wouldn’t take time away from his family.

Turns out he’s pretty good at it, too.

For the second consecutive year Trojanowski, a graduate of Mattituck High School, has won the Run for the Ridley 5K race to benefit the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle rescue and research program.

Even with Saturday’s unseasonably hot temperature, Trojanowski, 38, shaved a few seconds off last year’s time with a 16:38 finish.

“It was a lot hotter,” he said in comparison with his first Run for the Ridley in 2011. “The heat and humidity definitely made it tougher, but you just have to keep running.”

Trojanowski said he typically runs about five or six 5k races a year, since taking up the sport in 2008. He also runs some 10Ks and has run marathons.

He credits coach Brendan Barrett of the Sayville Running Company with helping to coach him into great running shape.

“I just love it,” Trojanowski said of running. “The key is to be real consistent with it and to have quality workouts.

Like female winner Tara Farrell of East Quogue, Trojanowski is a member at the Long Island Aquarium, which the Riverhead Foundation calls home.

“It’s a great organization,” he said. “We just love it there.”

gparpan@timesreview.com