Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Shem Creek, Charleston, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 8/6/2021
Weight: 1.68 kg (3.69 lbs)
Amethyst was caught on hook-and-line in Shem Creek. The fisher brought the turtle on to the floating dock and called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). Permit holder, Barb Gobien, responded and transported the turtle to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for hook removal and treatment. Barb called to let us know that there was visible fishing line, which makes hook removal much easier because it allows us to trace the line to the hook!
Once the turtle arrived, our team and vet staff got straight to work. On intake staff got a weight, x-ray, measurements, photographs, and pulled blood. The bloodwork showed that the patient was stable enough to attempt to remove the hook. That night, Dr. Michaels was able to remove the hook without surgery! After the removal, Amethyst was pretty quiet so she was intubated to help give her some oxygen and was given a breathing stimulating medication. Pretty soon after that she started taking breaths on her own and was extubated. Dr. Michaels took Amethyst home for a sleepover, in a padded bin, just as a precaution to monitor her breathing. When Amethyst arrived back at the Aquarium the next morning, she was put in a temporary holding bin while we prepared a tank for her. While she was in that holding bin, she proved to staff that she was strong enough to stay in water overnight.
August 15, 2021: Once we had an available tank, Amethyst was moved up to the first-floor hospital. Amethyst is such a tiny turtle, she makes her new home look like a mansion! She is swimming well and defecating. We will start offering her food this week!
September 15, 2021: Amethyst has been doing well since our last update! She is no longer on antibiotics and is at a full weighted diet.
October 15, 2021: Amethyst received a pre-release workup, including receiving a P.I.T tag, physical exam and bloodwork. Unfortunately, Amethyst’s bloodwork did not pass our release parameters so Amethyst will be in our care a little longer to give them more time to improve those values.
November 15, 2021: Amethyst was pulled to be evaluated again for release in the near future. We are just waiting to get the bloodwork results back. Overall, this patient is in excellent body condition; as long as the bloodwork comes back improved, we are hopeful we can get this little Kemp’s back into the big blue soon!
January 15, 2022: Amethyst has been doing well since our last update! We pulled Amethyst for a weight and measurement, and this patient is looking great!
February 15, 2022: For Valentine’s Day this year, Amethyst got a heart-shaped fish pop and they devoured it — maybe they’re in love or maybe they just really love fish! Amethyst continues to be a rockstar patient in rehab; they’re foraging well for their food and defecating a lot. We’re still waiting for their bloodwork to improve before sending them back out to the big blue.
March 15, 2022: Amethyst has been cruising since our last update! We will be pulling them soon to recheck their bloodwork to better evaluate their release status in the near future. Hopefully Amethyst will be returning to the big blue soon!
April 5, 2022: Are you ready for the good news?! Amethyst got to go back home to the ocean! During this time of year, the water temperatures are typically still too chilly to release off of our coast, so staff takes the turtles somewhere warmer. They were released today in… wait for it… FLORIDA! Sea Turtle Care Center staff worked with SCDNR, Georgia DNR and Florida Fish and Wildlife to coordinate this event. We are grateful that there is such a wonderful, large group of people who helps in this amazing conservation effort.