Oceanographer reflects on life rescuing marine turtles and birds

Oceanographer reflects on life rescuing marine turtles and birds PORT ARANSAS — There comes a time to reflect on one’s life, and Tony Amos has arrived at his. Amos, 79, has spent decades studying the idiosyncrasies of the world’s oceans for leading research universities. But around Port Aransas, the bushy-bearded septuagenarian is best known for his wildlife conservation efforts.1024x1024

vengefully lucky nugget free spins no deposit “It’s a long, long story,” Amos said. “It’s been a lifetime story.” At 17, a bright-eyed Amos left his native London and set out for Bermuda to join a group of engineers in what would be a vain effort to develop a flat-screen color TV. The experience proved invaluable nonetheless.

bovada live poker As he would soon learn, Amos had a proclivity for electronics, which drew the interest of oceanographers who passed through Bermuda on sea expeditions.

Atimonan uptown aces “I got a bit fed up with paradise and waiting for the color TV thing to be successful,” Amos recalled.

He would land a job in Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory, now known as the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He spent months at sea as a technician, where he would pioneer early salinity and depth-measuring instruments.


Then in 1976, Amos and his wife, Lynn, moved to Port Aransas, where he had accepted a research position as an oceanographer with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute.

Amos might have happily kept on monitoring the tides, measuring water temperature and salinity levels of the Gulf of Mexico if not for the 1979 Ixtoc I exploratory oil well blowout in the Bay of Campeche.

Amos had grown fond of the brown Pelicans and laughing gulls and various sea turtles that populate the coastal habitat, and when these animals began washing ashore in the aftermath of the oil spill, Amos was compelled to act.

“I think things have always been somewhat like this,” Amos said, “and we started doing something about it.”

The Animal Rehabilitation Keep, or ARK, was borne out of his early efforts to rescue and rehabilitate injured animals in the early 1980s.1024x1024-2

As the ARK grew, it took on several full-time staff and dozens of volunteers, including Amos’ son, Michael, and developed public outreach programs. These days, the ARK handles around 600 animals every year brought from Mustang Island, North Padre Island and surrounding areas, many of them found tangled in netting or having ingested plastic.

Over the years, the ARK has rescued 700 sea turtles and returned many of them to the wild, among them 21 green sea turtles, four Kemp’s ridleys, three loggerheads and a hawksbill released this fall from the recently anointed Tony Amos Beach.

Though Amos retired years ago, he continued his work for the ARK as a research fellow. The a1024x1024-1 nimal rehabilitation center is funded partly by UT, but significantly more comes from private donations to the Anthony F. Amos Endowment. Earlier this year, the staff learned that it will receive money from the Deepwater Horizon sea turtle restoration fund.

Lately, Amos has been scaling back his involvement in the ARK for health reasons: He undergoes chemo to fight inoperable pancreatic cancer. Speaking by phone from the doctor’s office, where he was waiting in line to have blood drawn, Amos thought over his life.

“I’ve had a great career at sea, I’ve learned a huge amount,” Amos said. “The ARK, it was just something that happened. … But I’m quite proud of what I’m leaving.”