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Animal Rescue Update: Cold-Stunned Turtles

National Aquarium Animal Rescue is currently caring for 30 rescued sea turtles!

Published March 06, 2020

In early February, 16 sea turtles rescued from a stranding event in North Carolina were transported to Baltimore for long-term rehabilitation. We are currently caring for 15 greens, 14 Kemp’s ridleys and one loggerhead.

Mascarpone, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle

 Here’s a quick refresher on how sea turtles like these become sick and strand: 

We’re happy to report that the turtles currently in rehabilitation have made great strides in their recovery! Mascarpone—a Kemp’s ridley nicknamed according to this year’s cheese-y theme—arrived with severe abrasions on and around its eyes. After just a few weeks of treatment, the lesions have almost completely healed!

Swiss, a green sea turtle

Swiss—a green sea turtle with multiple barnacle marks on its carapace—can often be found scratching its shell on enrichment items like PVC pipes and hula hoops in the recovery pool. Enrichment items are a crucial part of the recovery process. These items keep the turtles engaged with their surroundings and provide places to rest.

Hermelín, a green sea turtleGruyere, a green sea turtle

For greens like Hermelín and Gruyere, cold stunning resulted in internal issues such as lowered heart rate and moderate pneumonia. Both turtles are on the mend. Hermelín has even gained the unofficial title of being the most rambunctious green sea turtle in our care!

Stilton, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle

Stilton—a Kemp’s ridley rescued from Cape Cod—was found in rough shape, but is slowly recovering. New lesions were recently discovered on the side of Stilton’s carapace, likely caused by aggression from another turtle. In response to this development, our Animal Rescue team administered antibiotics and has isolated Stilton until any injuries have properly healed. Though aggression among patients is infrequent, it is possible and a protocol is followed by staff and volunteers to ensure the welfare of our patients while they’re in rehabilitation.

While many cases will need further care, a few of our turtles have already been cleared for release! These turtles include Gorgonzola, a three-finned green sea turtle that swims and forages like a pro, and Limburger, a Kemp’s ridley. Stay tuned for more updates as our team continues to rehabilitate this season’s many patients!

Learn more about cold-stunned sea turtles.

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