THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 53 52 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 While Tony continued his research work at UT, in- cluding regular expeditions to Antarctica and elsewhere, he grew his rescue operation on the grounds of the Marine Science Institute and began raising funds so that he could expand its mission and care for an ever-expanding popula- tion of rescued dolphins, sea turtles, birds and even terres- trial animals like injured racoons and coyotes. He began recruiting volunteers and veterinarians, and soon his work was being recognized across Texas and the United States. The real message had to do with why these creatures, and millions like them, were injured and needed to be rescued in the first place—and the answer in just about every case was their unfortunate interaction with…us. In the early 1980’s the threat was 200 million gal- lons of crude oil pumped into the Gulf of Mexico and killing every variety of sea life. By the end of the 80’s it was the highly volatile issue of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED’s) and their impact on the shrimping industry. At the same time, plastic garbage cast overboard by commercial maritime and leisure fishing interests were proven to be killing marine mammals, but especially sea turtles, that would regularly mistake clear plastic for jellyfish and end up dying from intestinal blockages. In 1988, a young PhD candidate named Pamela Plotkin, working for Tony under a grant at UTMSI, performed necropsies on deceased dol- phins and turtles that found clear plastic lodged in their intestines. This was the big-picture ocean science, like Tony’s daily beach surveys, that provided the data needed to ar- gue for and win legally-enforced policies and practices for the handling of garbage at sea. And his did. Texas Land Commission Gary Mauro launched the Texas Adopt-a- Beach program, motivated by Tony’s work and findings. International maritime treaties dealing with commercial marine pollution were won, despite the efforts of powerful shipping interests, based on research by Tony Amos and hundreds of others in the field of oceanography. Tony’s small compound of labs, holding tanks and cages eventually became the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK), and has to date rescued some 20,000 injured and distressed marine animals. Since his death, the ARK has been appropriately renamed the Amos Rehabilitation Keep. The question of his most personal but least scientific endeavor, the one that ended up impacting the most peo- ple—in our hearts, where our memories reside—was his rescue of living creatures in need. The use of his strength, his knowledge, his capacity to help those animals that had been hurt by his fellow man, it seems was the mission that meant the most to him. “For most, birds on the beach are invisible to them,” Tony once told me. “Some can’t believe I would rehabili- tate [sea] gulls, there are so many of them. At one time the sky was black with Passenger Pigeons. By 1917 there was one left in the Cincinnati Zoo. “I once followed a one-legged Ring Billed Gull for 22 years, that came to the same spot on the beach,” he continued, “like fidelity, the same bird came back to the same spot on the beach every year.” In those words, one could hear the connection Tony Amos had with the world around him, the compassion for life inside him that he may not have known projected onto so many. It is what we admired about him and what mo- tivated us to be like him. It was the soul of a good man who would never admit to the jump in his heart when an animal he saved was returned to the wild—or the lump in his throat and the tear in his eye when one of his patients was lost. “When I see these animals in distress because of Man’s involvement, I empathize with them I guess.” About as much emotion as you would hear from a man whose deeds always stood before his words. Tony Amos left this earth on September 4, 2017, nine days following the destruction that came with Hurricane Harvey to Port Aransas and the ARK. At his memorial service, Tony’s son, Michael Amos, conveyed his father’s sadness that his life’s work at the ARK might be lost. Port Aransas as a community, along with thousands of people who have supported the ARK over the years, will assure that this is not the case, and that the living legacy of Tony Amos will continue for as long as the world requires. The life’s work of Tony Amos continues at the Amos Re- habilitation Keep (ARK) on the grounds of UTMSI. To help, please visit: TCB Coastal Bend Community Available Now... 4-Legged Foster Families Many heros emerged before, during and after the epic strike on Port Aransas by Hur- ricane Harvey, and among them were all of the wonderful folks who make up Animal Friends of Port Aransas, which operates and supports the city’s no-kill animal shel- ter. The group is led by co-founder, Connie Beane, and veterinary care is generously donated by Dr. Christi Kresser and her clinic, Animal Hospital of Padre Island. While the heartbreaking stories of dogs and cats lost or abandoned after the storm are plenty, as are the accounts of how big-hearted Port Aransans sacrificed of them- selves to rescue many of them, nurse them back to health, and then feed and house them—we felt that the best use of this space is to help accomplish the ultimate goal of Animal Friends, which is to find forever homes for orphaned animals in need. With that, let us present the first class, January-February 2018, of 4-Legged Foster Fam- ilies ready and waiting for adoption! We don’t know all their names, and some may be adopted shortly after our press time, but the need is great, and great people are needed. For information on any of the pets posted here, please call Animal Friends of Port Aransas directly at (361) 749-5941, or email