Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Weight: 6.30 lbs
Deb was found floating in a tidal creek on Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge by U.S Fish and Wildlife Biologist Ford Mauney. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) research assistants Michael Collins, Tyler Harrell and Emma Shultz safely transported this green to our Sea Turtle Care Center. Deb arrived in good body condition and had a small amount of epibionts growing on her carapace (top shell).
Deb received a thorough physical exam, a blood draw and radiographs from our admitting vet team. Though bloodwork results were within a normal range and Deb appeared alert and responsive, radiographs revealed a significant amount of gas present in the gastrointestinal tract. Deb was an otherwise healthy patient so our team was concerned there might be an impaction, or blockage, caused by a foreign object such as plastic or other marine debris. Deb received fluids and vitamins for re-hydration and was started on a course of antibiotics. Deb was moved down to the Sea Turtle Hospital and placed in a tub with shallow water.
April 10, 2017: Two days after admit, our staff’s suspicions were proven correct as Deb defecated small piece of tarp material. Deb’s floating has decreased since then, and her diet is being slowly increased. We are still on the look out for more plastic that may be passed in the next few weeks.
May 3, 2017: Deb is doing very well and has not passed any more pieces of marine debris. She is not expressing any clinical signs of an impaction, and she has a healthy appetite and normal buoyancy control. Deb has since been moved into a partitioned tank with Squirt, Cove and Gill. The addition of the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery could not come at a better time as the Sea Turtle Care Center is getting close to maximum capacity. It is gearing up to be our busiest stranding season yet – we have already admitted 12 patients and it’s not even June yet!
May 19, 2017: Deb continues to do very well. Last Tuesday, SCDNR employee Jenna Cormany came in and tagged five of our current patients. One of which was little Deb! She was given a small PIT tag (Passive Integrated Transponder) that goes under the skin of the front flipper. This device has a unique numerical code that, when scanned with a PIT scanner, will identify the individual. This is something that we check for with each turtle that is admitted to the hospital. If Deb were to re-strand, we would be able to identify her based off of the PIT tag numbers. Bloodwork is currently being evaluated, and hopefully the results will show that she is almost ready for release.
May 31, 2017
Folly Beach County Park