This Kemp's ridley sea turtle was found stranded in Brewster, MA, on November 29, 2010, and was transported to the New England Aquarium and treated for cold-stunning, the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia.
Kemp’s are the most endangered and the smallest of all the sea turtle species, which makes them particularly vulnerable to severe changes in water temperature.
After the turtle was stabilized, it was transported to the National Aquarium on December 22 with several other cold-stunned turtles for long-term rehabilitation.
Rudolph underwent treatment for a blood infection, pneumonia, and several deep lacerations and abrasions associated with the cold-stunning, including treatment for significant damage to the tips of the front flippers.
Rudolph was the second largest turtle in rehab and showed great improvement after medical treatment. Rudolph shared a pool with Frosty during rehabilitation, and enjoyed a daily diet of capelin, squid, shrimp, and mussels.
Rudolph was released at Maryland's Point Lookout State Park on June 26, 2011, along with four other rehabilitated Kemp's ridley sea turtles: Donner, Blitzen, Buddy (the Elf), and Frosty, named after winter characters, due to their arrival at the Aquarium around the holidays.
Because Kemp's ridley sea turtles commonly inhabit the Chesapeake Bay during the warm summer months to feed on an assortment of jellies and invertebrates, Aquarium officials felt this was the best time and location to release the turtles.
The turtles are expected to stay in the mid-Atlantic region or head north for the summer, before eventually heading south again in the fall.
Prior to release, Rudolph was outfitted with a small satellite transmitter that allowed us to track the location and speed of the turtle.
These tags help researchers learn more about sea turtle migration and travel patterns. The information is gathered until the adhesive fails and the tag falls off. Learn more about the importance of animal tracking here.
From June 26 to August 7, when we received the last satellite transmission, Rudolph traveled more than 616 miles!
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