On Thursday, September 5, National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue team released Niagara, a rescued Loggerhead sea turtle, from Assateague State Park following six weeks of rehabilitation for minor fishing hook injuries and a shell fracture.
Niagara was originally brought to the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Center after being hooked by fishing gear on a local pier. Shortly after, he was transferred to National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue rehabilitation facility, where Animal Health staff assessed the condition of his hook injury as well as the shell fracture, from an old boat strike injury. The team provided some antibiotics as well as some basic wound care to allow the fractured area to heal and stabilize on its own.
Prior to release, Niagara was very active in his rehab tank, with healthy appetites and desire for enrichment activities.
Hook injuries like Niagara’s are not uncommon. Every season, National Aquarium Animal Rescue and other animal rescue facilities along the coastlines promote safe viewing of marine animals and proper procedures for helping stranded or injured animals. As protected species, there are federal laws that protect these animals from human activities such as harassment, poaching, hunting, killing, feeding and touching within waterways. Reporting suspicious incidents, entanglement cases and sightings of stranded animals helps rescue teams greatly.
To find out more about Niagara and to see photos of his rehabilitation, please visit the National Aquarium WATERblog.