This green sea turtle was found stranded on Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, on November 20, 2008, and picked up by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC). The animal presented with signs of cold-stunning (similar to hypothermia in humans), and was held overnight by MMSC.
The animal was then transported to the National Aquarium the following day and admitted for rehab with MARP. The animal was slowly warmed by National Aquarium staff, and began treatment for a mild case of pneumonia. The animal continued to improve in the days following admittance, and began eating on after a week, on Thanksgiving day.
While in rehab, the turtle ate a mixture of squid, capelin, shrimp, and romaine lettuce. While adult green sea turtles are typically herbivorous, juveniles are more carnivorous and eat a varied diet.
The turtle, named "Didiher" by the satellite tag donor, responded well to treatment and gained nearly 3 pounds while at the Aquarium.
After consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the animal to transport it to the Marine Science Center (MSC) in Daytona Beach, Florida, for short-term holding prior to release in March or April (depending on water temperature).
If the animal continued to stay at the National Aquarium, we would not be able to release the animal locally until well into June, when water temperature would be ideal for release of a green sea turtle.
MARP staff flew the turtle to Florida, and the Marine Science Center reported that the animal adjusted well to its new environment, and had a hearty appetite. While at the MSC, the turtle was called "Mary," and now both institutions refer to the turtle as Didiher Mary. The turtle was released on April 18, 2009.
MARP staff traveled back to Florida to outfit the turtle with a satellite transmitter and assist partner MSC in the release.
The transmitter allows us to track and monitor the animal post-release, and will help scientists to understand the migration and feeding patterns of these animals. Learn more about the importance of animal tracking here.
From April 18 to July 10, when we received the last satellite transmission, Didiher Mary traveled more than 806 miles!
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