Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Endangered Kemp's Ridley Admitted with Severe Entanglements

A 4.5 kg juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle was rescued late yesterday afternoon from Bird Key  with fishing line tightly entangled around its limbs and neck. The recreational fisherman that found the turtle could tell it was in trouble and scooped it out of the water with a dip net. After a call to the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) hotline and Folly Beach stranding network, Lisa Scarano of SCDNR transported the turtle to the South Carolina Aquarium.

Monofilament fishing line was tightly entangled around the neck and left flippers.
The most severe entanglement is around the left rear flipper. The lines were so tight that the flipper was extremely swollen and deformed.
"Birdie" was freed from the lines and injuries assessed.
The turtle was measured by Caitlin, one of the fall Sea Turtle Rescue Program Interns.
X-rays were taken. The black arrow points to the area of entanglement on the rear flipper. If you look closely at the unaffected rear flipper, you can clearly see the tibia and fibula. On the rear flipper, the tibia is intact but the fibula has severe osteomylitis.
Despite the severe injuries, "Birdie" is very feisty and consistently tried to bite rescue staff! Antibiotic and vitamin injections were administered and wounds were flushed and treated.
We are so grateful for Jonathan, the fisherman that caught the turtle, to the Judi and Shannon on the stranding network that responded so quickly, and to Lisa from SCDNR for making the transfer. It takes a village.  Everyone can do their part in helping sea turtles like "Birdie" by keeping our waterways free of marine debris!

Kelly Thorvalson