Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Arrival Date: 11/29/2021
Weight: 2.2 kg (4.84 lbs)
Bruni stranded on Ryder Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts due to cold stunning. They were transported to the New England Aquarium they received fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. After a few days at the New England Aquarium, Turtles Fly Too pilot, Ed Filangeri, and co-pilot, Glenn Knoblach, picked up over 40 sea turtles and flew them to rehabilitation facilities in North Carolina, Georgia and to us at the South Carolina Aquarium. It truly takes a village to rehabilitate sea turtles!
Bruni was one of eight sea turtles transported to us from the New England Aquarium for treatment. Ana stranded only a few days before transport, so their body temperature was checked after they were loaded into the turtle ambulance, along with their heart rate and breathing. Bruni did great during the transport, and their body temperature was in the lower 60s. We made sure to set our exam room to a lower temperature to avoid a drastic rise in body temperature during the admit process. Bruni had a normal heart rate and was very active during the admit process! They received fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. The vet team took x-rays, pulled bloodwork and conducted a full physical exam. Overall, Bruni was in good shape! We then left Bruni to rest comfortably in a foam-padded bin in the hallway and slowly increased their body temperature so we could move them to a tank in the ICU.
December 9, 2021: It took Bruni a few days to get the hang of eating the fish we offer, but now they are eating well! Bruni is still receiving antibiotic injections and is in a divided tank with Kristoff and Olaf. We are increasing their diet as well as the water level of their tank as they get stronger.
January 15, 2022: Bruni has been doing well since admit. They have finished their course of antibiotics to combat any potential infection caused by the impacts of being cold stunned. Bruni was one of the patients that began eating a day or two after admit and has been recovering well overall.
February 15, 2022: Bruni continues to improve since they were admitted back in November. Staff noted that they were floating at the surface randomly, but medically everything checked out as normal. It was determined that they were floating as a possible form of comfort. It is actually fairly common for young turtles to float at the surface. A cube enrichment was added to see if that would allow them to feel more comfortable. Now we see Bruni spending more time on the bottom and in the water column interacting with their cube!
March 15, 2022: Bruni has been doing well since their last update! We haven’t seen any of the floating behavior lately. Bruni was recently offered some fiddler crabs for enrichment, and they loved them!
April 5, 2022: Today was the day: Bruni got to go back home to the ocean! Once placed in the water, they took off like a rocket. Bruni was released at Little Talbot Island State Park into the warmer waters of Florida, along with nine other Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.