Monday, November 17, 2008

Mama Pritchard egg update

The Pritchards Island turtle team observed several false crawls and deteriorating wounds in an adult female loggerhead in late spring of 2008. These wounds would have likely led to the animal’s death if the SCDNR and the Pritchards Island turtle team had not made great efforts in saving this animal. During several months of rehabilitation, Mama Pritchard, named for the location she was found, laid a total of 146 eggs at the South Carolina Aquarium’s turtle hospital. The number of eggs suggests she was carrying a full clutch when she arrived for treatment. Although the first eggs deposited were obviously nonviable and the chances were very slim that any of the eggs would develop, the majority were incubated for 70+ days.

Recently, the eggs were evaluated at the Aquarium by SCDNR sea turtle biologists and it was obvious that none of the eggs were viable. This was likely due to the location, severity and timing of the significant trauma Mama Pritchard endured during her nesting season. The SC Aquarium would like to express its gratitude to the Aquarium volunteers, interns and staff who patiently assisted with egg monitoring, the Pritchards Island turtle team for diligently monitoring the beaches, and the SCDNR sea turtle program for allowing the egg incubation. Although the eggs did not survive the trauma, Mama Pritchard is doing very well in rehabilitation. She will survive to produce more offspring thanks to the efforts of all those involved in South Carolina’s sea turtle program.

Dr. Shane Boylan