Animal Rescue Update: A Very Busy January

Here’s a behind-the-scenes update from our Animal Rescue team on how our patients are doing:

Published January 20, 2016

2016 has already been quite the year for our Animal Rescue and Animal Health teams! There are currently 12 cold-stunned sea turtles in our team’s care. Most of these patients have been healing from the typical chronic injuries we see in these cases, including: pneumonia, joint lesions, eye lesions and inflammation of the intestines. 

Hardhead’s Story

One case in particular, a juvenile green sea turtle named Hardhead, has given our team cause for celebration. After stranding along the Delaware coast in November, Hardhead was rescued by the MERR Institute and transferred to the National Aquarium for long-term rehabilitation. 

turtle admit

Upon arrival to our Animal Rescue center, Hardhead’s internal temperature was a chilly 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, he was exhibiting signs of severe external and internal trauma, including broken ribs and a tear in his lungs. Although there’s not way to know for sure, it’s likely Hardhead’s trauma was caused by a boat strike. 

turtle procedure

The tear in Hardhead’s lung caused air to escape into his body cavity, preventing him from diving or swimming properly. To give his lung proper time to heal, our staff monitored Hardhead closely and tong-fed him several times a day. By the last week of the 2015, Hardhead began swimming and diving normally! 

turtle procedure

In the first month of this year, we’re happy to report Hardhead’s condition continues to improve! His fractures are healing and his respiratory trauma is gone. 

Releases With Riverhead

In early January, our team traveled down to Jacksonville, Florida to release three rehabilitated patients from the National Aquarium and a loggerhead from the Riverhead Foundation

turtle release

The Riverhead Foundation is just one of many partners in the East Coast stranding network, a group of nonprofit organizations that respond to stranded marine animals. Releases are always a great opportunity for staff and volunteers to celebrate the cases that get a second chance at life out in the big blue! 

Stay tuned for more updates from our team!

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