Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Briarcliff Acres, SC
Arrival Date: 4/29/17
Weight: 93.44 kg (206 pounds)
Early in the morning, Destiny was found on the beach near the tide. Charlotte Hope from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) responded to the call and brought Destiny to the South Carolina Aquarium. Destiny was thin, lethargic and had poor blood values. These symptoms are indicative of Debilitated Turtle Syndrome (DTS). She also had lacerations on all four flippers, probably caused by a shark.
Dr. Shane Boylan examined Destiny’s eyes and found cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts in sea turtles are similar to cataracts in other animals. They cause the vision to be obscured and make it much harder for the animal to forage. To ensure we do not pass the cataracts to healthy turtles, staff has put Destiny under quarantine. Destiny underwent fluid therapy, vitamin injections and is going through a round of antibiotics. Once Destiny is stable, staff will consider a course of action for the cataracts. For now, Destiny is resting and being offered small amounts of nutritious food each day to get her energy back up.
May 11, 2017: Destiny has recently been moved into a large 1,000 gallon tank. She is a great eater and eagerly eats all of her diet. She spends the majority of the day resting, but is slowly showing signs of improvement. Destiny is given an antibiotic injection every three days as well as a physical exam.
May 19, 2017: Destiny has recently been moved to a larger tank with a window. It is here that her personality has really started to shine! Even though she spends a good portion of the day resting and napping, she always seems to have one eye open and looking around for her caregivers to bring her more food. Due to her size, personality and resiliency she has quickly become a staff favorite.
June 5, 2017: Destiny continues to be a crowd favorite. She peers out of her window all day long with a watchful eye making sure staff and volunteers are working hard. She is almost done with antibiotics and continues to eat absolutely everything. She is really doing quite fantastic!
June 15, 2017: Destiny is responding well to supportive care and is very active! She continues to gain weight and is no longer on iron supplementation or antibiotic injections. The predator attack wounds on her front flippers are healing up nicely, too! Though she’s not out of the woods yet, staff is very happy with how well Destiny is bouncing back!
July 3, 2017, Destiny continues to improve and gain weight. She eats all types of fish and continues to win over our hearts! The wounds on Destiny’s flippers are covered with fibrin which is a type of healing tissue – like scab tissue. Soon the fibrin will fall off and pink, healed skin will be exposed. You go, Destiny!
July 15, 2017: Destiny continues to win over our hearts! She eats everything we offer her, she’s maintaining weight and is feisty as ever!
August 1, 2017: Destiny continues to improve each and every day. She was offered live blue crab last week and ate it like a pro!
August 15, 2017: Destiny’s cataracts were checked by Dr. Cook this week to monitor any changes in the cataract. She was weighed and measured while she was out of her tank. It is quite the undertaking to take a sea turtle of her size out of the water so we did everything we needed to while she was out! She has gained some weight, and the eye doctor is happy to report that Destiny’s cataracts have not progressed!
September 15, 2017: Destiny was moved into Sea Turtle Recovery last week. She had her blood rechecked and the values are looking much better! She will be evaluated for release! She’s our largest patient at the moment so be sure to come and visit.