National Aquarium and Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center will release four rehabilitated sea turtles Sunday, October 20, at 1 p.m. along the Sandbridge shore (near the Sandbridge Market). The public is invited to attend.
National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue team has two loggerhead sea turtles, “Rooney” and “Portsmouth”, who have passed their exit exams and are “commuting” to warmer waters for their return to the ocean. Rooney was one of their first cold-stunned turtles of the 2013 year. Husbandry staff and veterinarians initially treated a chronic abscess with honey, but on June 27 and September 18, a soft tissue surgeon assisted aquarium veterinarians with the removal of the abscess. While in rehabilitation with the Aquarium, Rooney gained 19.3 pounds, and is currently consuming a healthy diet of blue crabs, squid, shrimp and lean fish.
The second National Aquarium loggerhead to be released is Portsmouth, who was transferred to their facility in August from the Virginia Aquarium. Portsmouth was hooked at the Ocean View Fishing Pier on the Fourth of July. Radiographs revealed two hooks embedded in his/her esophagus. Veterinarians at Beach Pet Hospital were able to successfully remove one hook before his move to National Aquarium. Due to an influx of sea turtle patients in Virginia, Portsmouth was transferred to National Aquarium’s turtle rehab center in order to clear space for incoming turtles at the Marine Animal Care Center. On August 28, aquarium veterinary staff were assisted by a specialist for an endoscopy procedure to remove the last of two hooks Portsmouth had ingested. After this successful procedure, staff added more foods into the turtle’s diet, such as blue crabs. Following a healthy weight gain of 6.6 pounds, Portsmouth is ready to be released.
The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team is releasing two juvenile loggerhead sea turtles, “Findlay” and “Grenada”. Findlay was hooked in the jaw by a fisher at Little Island Fishing Pier on July 30. Grenada came to the Marine Animal Care Center a little later on August 14. Grenada was hooked in the front flippers by a fisher at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. All hooks were removed successfully. Additionally, both Findlay and Grenada presented at the Marine Animal Care Center with signs of severe anemia and carapace infections. Thanks to antibiotics and treatment for the anemia and carapace lesions, both Findlay and Grenada have made a quick recovery and have gained weight. Grenada will be fitted with a Navy satellite tag. The tracks can be followed on seaturtle.org.