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Texas State Aquarium receives donated ambulance from CCFD

The 13 year old ambulance is fit to transport stacked containers of sea turtles, manatees or dolphins on the rubberized flooring.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce they have a new way to transport animals who are in need of life saving care.

After the aquarium approached the City of Corpus Christi a couple of months back about a need to transport heavy animals in a climate controlled vehicle. Following that, Corpus Christi Fire Department donated the ambulance.

CCFD officials told 3NEWS, they were excited about the opportunity to help the aquarium take it's wildlife rescue efforts to a new level.

President and CEO of The Texas State Aquarium, Jesse Gilbert spoke with 3NEWS and said, "We kind of tossed around the idea, you know, an ambulance holds a lot of weight, it has heating and air conditioning in the back of it. So, we reached out to the fire department." 

The retired ambulance now sits outside the aquarium. Gilbert said, it's exactly what was needed to help save wildlife and it will serve many purposes. 

"Moving wildlife to the new rescue center, to the beach for release, back into the, you know, the Texas scrublands, maybe from facility to facility. So, ya it'll continue to serve the community for years and years to come." Gilbert explained.

TSA's President also said, it has been difficult to find climate controlled vehicles since the Covid-19 pandemic. The 13 year old ambulance is fit to transport stacked containers of sea turtles, a manatee or dolphins on the rubberized flooring. It will also help with wildlife education. 

"On top of the wildlife, it can also go to schools, it can go to boys and girls clubs, it can go to community centers to engage Texans about wildlife and wildlife resiliency." Gilbert said.

CCFD Chief Robert Rocha told 3NEWS, the city was happy to make the donation and looks forward to its new role saving lives. "The fire department was able to make the donation of an ambulance that had served many years for the city, transporting thousands of patients and now it'll get a second life transporting animals to the appropriate medical facility." Rocha said.

The ambulance can also transport animals that are in need of water. Gilbert said, fortunately oxygen is already incorporated into the vehicle.

"It has all this infrastructure that just oddly fits with what the aquarium does. So, ya it could move, we could move fish, we could move dolphins, turtles, birds. It can do a number of things." Gilbert added.

The TSA's President explains, the ambulance is ready for use and will have exterior designs that feature The Wildlife Rescue Program and express thanks to Corpus Christi Fire Department for the generous donation.

The Texas State Aquarium plans to add monitors to show kids the animals being recued and the team when they visit schools.

An additional ambulance is being considered in the future.

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