Emmy® Award-winning actress Loretta Swit meets the resident manatees at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium during a special behind-the-scenes tour today, July 2. From left: Teresa Rosado, assistant to Ms. Swit, Tom Waters, Chief Advancement Officer at Mote, Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, Mote President and CEO, Joseph Gaspard III, Manatee Care, Training and Research Coordinator at Mote, Jack Briggs, local host of Ms. Swit, and Robert Carter, Chairman of Mote's Board of Trustees.
Left: Emmy® Award-winning actress Loretta Swit looks into a medical pool to see Edna the sick dolphin while visiting Mote today, July 2. Right: Edna interacts with a special toy called an environmental enrichment device today, July 2 at Mote Marine Laboratory's Dolphin and Whale Hospital, where her health is showing signs of progress thanks to dedicated care by Mote staff and volutneers.
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Loretta Swit, an Emmy® Award-winning TV and theater actress — famed for her role as Major Margaret Houlihan of “M*A*S*H” — and a passionate animal advocate, toured world-class research facilities and animal hospitals at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium today, July 2, paying a special visit to the sick dolphin “Edna.” (Click here for a condition update on Edna.)
Mote’s leaders, scientists and animal care professionals were honored to host Ms. Swit, and to discuss their shared interests in marine conservation.
“What a graceful, gracious lady,” said Mote President and CEO Dr. Mahadevan, who was thrilled to guide Ms. Swit through the Lab that he has led for more than 25 years. “It’s amazing that she loves all kinds of marine species, from sharks to dolphins to phytoplankton. That's very important — all of these things are connected. A key part of Mote's mission is to learn about the health of many species within marine ecosystems, in the interest of conservation.”
During the tour, Ms. Swit met Mote's founder, “Shark Lady” Dr. Eugenie Clark, along with leading scientists in Mote’s national Center for Shark Research and Mote coral reef scientists making groundbreaking discoveries about coral health and disease. She paid a special visit to Mote’s resident manatees, Hugh and Buffett — the world’s most highly trained manatees. Mote scientists have done cutting-edge research on Hugh and Buffett’s eyesight, hearing and sense of touch to learn how manatees navigate in their environment, providing valuable information for management and conservation of manatee populations, which are endangered in the wild.
“I’ve had a wonderful time,” Ms. Swit said. “The work you’ve done here is so wonderful, efficient and extraordinary.”
Ms. Swit’s visit culminated with a tour of Mote’s hospitals for dolphins, whales and sea turtles, including a special stop to meet the sick dolphin Edna. This bottlenose dolphin has been receiving 'round-the-clock care since she was admitted to Mote's Dolphin and Whale Hospital on June 6.
“I was so happy to see Edna,” Ms. Swit said. “This is the essence of care and preservation: rescue, rehab, release — keeping the species intact.”
Ms. Swit also visited the 135,000-gallon shark habitat in The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory — the public outreach facility that brings Mote’s marine research to life for people of all ages.
Ms. Swit is in Sarasota for her role in "Love, Loss and What I Wore,” which runs through July 15 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. (Tickets are available through the Asolo Rep Box Office, 941-351-8000, or online at www.asolorep.org)
Ms. Swit has starred in multiple Broadway shows, toured with national theater companies and has been featured in more than 25 movies. She has been honored with the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award and two Emmy® Awards, along with many Emmy® and Golden Globe nominations.
In her efforts to support wildlife, Ms. Swit hosted the Discovery Channel series “Those Incredible Animals,” which ran for five years, was also shown on Animal Planet and aired in 30 countries. She is 1st Vice President of Actors and Others For Animals, an honorary Board member of The Wildlife Waystation, has served as spokesperson for various campaigns of The Humane Society of the United States, and has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund For Animal Welfare.
Learn more about Ms. Swit’s work at: http://www.switheart.com/
About Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Donations to Mote are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Mote is dedicated to today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Research programs include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the health of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help us better understand the health of the environment. Mote research programs also focus on understanding the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and coral reefs and on conservation and restoration efforts related to these species and ecosystems. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at www.mote.org.
Contact: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. (941) 388-4441 or email@example.com.
Condition Update: Edna the Bottlenose Dolphin
Mote continues to treat a female bottlenose dolphin nicknamed “Edna” that stranded June 6 on Longboat Key.
As of today, July 2, Edna remains in critical condition but continues to respond well to treatment for pneumonia and several other health problems.
Edna was given a veterinary exam over the weekend, including X-rays and ultrasound of her lungs. Her lung condition seems to be improving slowly, but Mote staff say she still has symptoms of respiratory illness and they continue to monitor her condition carefully 24 hours per day.
Edna is continuing to eat all the fish she is offered and Mote staff are increasing the amount of food she is given. She continues to swim on her own and show good energy.
Mote's animal care staff are pleased with her progress but caution that Edna's condition could change at any time. We are grateful to the specially trained volunteers who conitnue monitoring Edna 'round the clock.
Mote’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital has treated 70 sick and injured dolphins and small whales since 1992. Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has treated more than 400 sea turtles since 1995. All marine mammals and sea turtles are protected species, so helping each animal is critical. You can support these important efforts at www.mote.org/hospitalhelp.