Gulfarium's Contributions to Conservation

The primary goal of the Gulfarium animal care staff is to provide the highest quality of animal care possible. At the same time the facility has the opportunity to be involved in and contribute to furthering the knowledge about the animals we care for through research and conservation projects. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park conducts and supports scientific research and conservation projects related to marine mammals. These projects provide information that may be important to the conservation of species, habitats, and biodiversity in the wild, as well as improving husbandry for animals in zoological parks and aquariums.

Research and Conservation Mission Statement: To significantly contribute to and participate in scientific research and conservation projects that are important to the preservation of marine life in the wild as well as the advancement of husbandry for animals in zoological parks and aquariums while sharing and fostering this passion in our visitors and the general public.

The Gulfarium Sea Turtle C.A.R.E. (Conserve, Act, Rehabilitate, Educate) Program, centered on the endangered sea turtle, has been a part of the Gulfarium for many years. The program has helped to rehabilitate and release various species of sea turtles found in the Gulf Coast, from the loggerhead, green, kemp’s ridley, to the hawksbill. Over the years hundreds of sea turtles have been rehabilitated and released back into the wild by the Gulfarium.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park recently participated in supplying blood sample and food intake data for the study currently being conducted by Brookfield Zoo (and partially funded by IMATA’s Research and Conservation Fund) for the Dolphin Iron Research Project entitled “Comparing Dietary Consumption of Iron in Wild versus Captive Dolphins”.

Other examples of work include:

Wells, RL, Barger PC, Newton JC, and FI Townsend, Jr. 2012. Monitoring clinical response of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), to posaconazole utilizing a new ELISA for Apophysomyces sp. fungal infection. IAAAM 43rd Annual Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA: 

F.I. Townsend Jr. and Laurie J. Gage.  Hand-Rearing and Artificial Milk Formulas, Chapter 37 in Dierauf and Gulland, eds. Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine 2nd edition, CRC press, 2001.

F.I. Townsend Jr. and Laurie J. Gage.  Hand-Rearing and Artificial Milk Formulas, Chapter 37 in  Dierauf and Gulland, eds. Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine 2nd edition, CRC press, 2001.

F.I. Townsend Jr.  Medical management of Stranded Small Cetaceans, Chapter 68 in Zoo & Wild Animal Medicine, Saunders Co., 1999

Development of Non-Invasive Dorsal Fin Saddle Packs for Cetaceans in IAAAM Conference Proceedings 1994, page 152.

2018 finest of Emerald Coast Award Accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums Accredited by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association Destin Area Chamber of Commerce Member Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce