On July 25, 2008, National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard about a loggerhead sea turtle that was in need of help.
The turtle was found floating in the inlet of Ocean City, Maryland, and was unable to dive properly, putting it at risk of becoming injured by a boat.
Animal Rescue staff rescued the animal and then transported him to the National Aquarium, Baltimore, for rehabilitation.
Upon admittance, the turtle was found to have an abundance of organisms living on its shell, including barnacles, blue mussels, and sea grasses.
Within the first few days of rehabilitation, the turtle had shed nearly 10 pounds of hitchhikers from its shell!
Once the shell was smooth and clean, the turtle was able to dive and feed properly, but was still severely underweight. The turtle was treated for a shell infection, and was taken to the Johns Hopkins Hospital for two separate CT scans.
During rehabilitation, the turtle ate a diet of capelin, squid, and blue crabs. Sea turtles will commonly feed on blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, and Flight and Release was no exception—crabs are one of the turtle's favorite treats.
Flight and Release gained nearly 26 pounds while in rehab! This was one of the longest rehabilitation periods for a marine animal rescued by Animal Rescue.
Flight and Release was released from Assateague State Park on Saturday, September 19, 2009, in conjunction with Maryland Coastal Bays Program's Maryland Coast Day event.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Shared Earth Foundation, we outfitted the turtle with a small satellite transmitter prior to 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.
From September 19 to October 23, when we received the last satellite transmission, Flight and Release traveled more than 715 miles!
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