This past Thursday, our SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned two endangered species of sea turtles to their natural environment, a Kemp’s ridley and Green sea turtle. Both turtles were rescued earlier this year and received veterinary care at SeaWorld Orlando.
The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was returned to the north beach of Canaveral National Seashore. The malnourished and underweight turtle came to us in January after being found stranded in Vero Beach, Fla. Upon rescue it was discovered that the juvenile turtle became entangled in a fishing buoy around its front right flipper, causing severe tissue damage. After the buoy was removed, radiographs of the flipper were taken to learn the extent of the injury, wound debridement and laser therapy was used to remove dead tissue and stimulate new cell growth. The turtle was also given antibiotics, anti-parasite medications and treated for anemia. The flipper injury healed without complications and was medically cleared for return by veterinary staff. Upon arrival the animal weighed just over 4 pounds, and weighed nearly 6 pounds at the time of return, a 50 percent increase in weight.
The Green sea turtle was returned to Hobe Sound Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. after being rescued late February. This juvenile sea turtle arrived at SeaWorld Orlando for treatment after being transferred from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee. The turtle was given antibiotics, treated for parasites, and given a balanced diet. The turtle weighed 8.7 pounds upon arrival, and weighed 11.2 pounds at the time of return.
Our team at SeaWorld works with the FWC to determine the best location for these endangered turtles to be returned. After a positive trend in health, the turtles are evaluated with the goal to return them back to the ocean. After several medical tests including a blood chemistry analysis, a decision can be made on whether the animal is ready to be returned or if continued rehabilitation under our care is needed.
So far in 2015, our team at SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 44 sea turtles and returned 66 to the ocean. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 25,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at (888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.
To learn more about SeaWorld’s commitment to animals and the environment, visit SeaWorldCares.com.