Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turtle Hospital admits 4 cold-stunned sea turtles from NC

The recent onslaught of cold weather in NC was not only a shock to the people living there but also to the sea turtles just off the coast. Sea turtles are unable to regulate their body temperature so dramatic decreases in water temperature cause the turtles to become immobile and make it impossible for them to migrate to warmer water. Since late last week, over 60 sea turtles have become cold-stunned and stranded on NC beaches. It is a race against time for these animals that will die without help and whose populations are already in trouble. As NC facilities are overwhelmed with the numbers, North Carolina Department of Natural Resources put a call in for help to neighboring states that could possibly take some of the load.

After confirming that the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program would be able to help, DuBose Griffin, Sea Turtle Coordinator of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, traveled over 8 hours to transport 2 green sea turtles and 2 loggerhead sea turtles to the Turtle Hospital. Although the hospital was essentially full when the initial call for help came in Monday morning, staff knew that some changes could be made, some turtles could be moved and temporary tanks cleaned, to make room for 4 new patients. The hospital is now bustling with 12 patients, the most the South Carolina Aquarium has ever held at once!

The cold-stunned sea turtles were

admitted on Monday evening and aside from warming their core temperatures slowly to match the temperature of the holding pools, Dr. Boylan gave them full physicals, vitamin injections and antibiotics to prevent pneumonia. The animals are all lethargic and are being monitored very closely.

You can see the new patients by going to the hospital page but even better, you can visit all 12 patients by taking a hospital tour! Tour information is on the website. We’d love to see you!

Kelly Thorvalson