Rescued Sea Turtle Update

After three months of rehabilitation with National Aquarium Animal Rescue, 11 rescued sea turtles are being evaluated for release.

In November, 15 sea turtles were airlifted to the National Aquarium after they were found stranded on beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, suffering from medical issues related to falling water temperatures, a condition known as cold stunning. The 12 Kemp's ridley and three green sea turtles arrived in Baltimore a few days before Thanksgiving and have been in the care of National Aquarium Animal Rescue and the Aquarium's Animal Health team.

Eleven of these turtles are now being evaluated for possible release in Florida within the next few weeks.

"This group has been pretty typical cold-stun cases," said Rehabilitation Manager Kate Shaffer. "Most had some degree of pneumonia when they arrived. A few suffered from shell and eye lesions as a result of their stranding. The majority of them are already off antibiotics."

All the rescued turtles in this group were named after constellations, so Hercules, Hydra, Pegasus and Phoenix are part of the star-studded crowd currently swimming around in the Aquarium's hospital pools.

One of the most notable cases from this group is a Kemp's ridley called Orion. He arrived with very severe injuries to his carapace and plastron—the top and underside of his shell—and he required subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics, pain medication, wound care and time in a warming tank to raise his body temperature.

Orion is one of the rescued sea turtles currently being evaluated for release in Florida.
Orion was one of the most serious patients that arrived at the National Aquarium in November, but he is already a candidate for release.

According to Kate, Orion's injuries have healed nicely. He is now an active swimmer and hearty eater (his favorites are squid and herring), and he is one of the turtles being considered for release in Florida within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

The Cheese Stands Alone

Another Kemp's ridley sea turtle, Pecorino, is the last remaining patient that was part of an earlier 2020 group of rescued turtles named after cheeses.

Rescued sea turtle patient Pecorino swims toward a morsel of food.
Pecorino, who has been in rehab at the Aquarium since September, is still recovering from serious injuries.

Pecorino was rescued in Delaware in September after being struck by a boat. While he has made great strides in his recovery, he is not currently a candidate for release.

"Pecorino is healing remarkably well from his injuries. He's growing and gaining weight," explains Kate, "but we need to continue monitoring him for visual and cognitive deficiencies resulting from his injuries."

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