Thursday, September 8, 2011

Newest patient from the Edge of America

On Tuesday evening, an endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle stranded on Folly Beach, the local barrier island commonly known as 'the Edge of America.' The small turtle was originally found by Lucinda Gilbert, a resident on the island. Nancy Smith, Bob Neville and Sharon Hally from the Folly Beach Turtle Watch responded to the stranding and contacted Charlotte Hope from the SCDNR, who then transported the turtle to the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital for medical care. It takes a whole slew of folks to save a sea turtle and we are grateful for each person along the way!

"Edge" is thin, lethargic, anemic, and unable to submerge in water. Because of the timing as well as the condition of the turtle, it is presumed that Edge was tossed around in the rough oceanic waters during Hurricane Irene and "his" health declined as a result. The lucky little turtle landed in just the right place for healing, rest and relaxation.

Current therapy includes antibiotics, vitamins and fluids. Although Edge isn't eating yet, we are hoping he will soon be enticed so he can start putting on a little weight. For our invertebrate folks out there, we found a few very interesting barnacles on this turtle's shell that can be seen in the photo below. There is very little information about barnacle species on the internet so we are looking to (and appreciating!) our local barnacle expert from the Citadel, Dr. John Zardus, for species identification. These critters may tell us a little more about where this turtle has been. Most of the barnacles will eventually die and be removed from the shell (and nose) but for the time being, they are not causing the turtle problems.

We would like to send a huge THANK YOU to all involved in rescuing sick and injured sea turtles from our waters and beaches. If you find a sea turtle in need of assistance, be sure to call the SCDNR stranded turtle hotline at 1-800-922-5431.

Kelly Thorvalson