Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Cape Cod Bay, MA
Arrival Date: 11/27/22
Weight: 2.0 kg (4.4 lbs)
This turtle is one of many that stranded up in the New England area due to cold stunning. The New England Aquarium sees hundreds of turtles during a few winter months. This year, the South Carolina Aquarium was able to take 15 of these turtles to help lighten the load. This turtle originally stranded in New England on November 19, 2022 and was triaged at the New England Aquarium. We coordinated with New England Aquarium and a non-profit called Turtles Fly Too to get the turtles to our Aquarium. Pilot Steve Bernstein and his son Owen flew the turtles from New England to Charleston on November 27, 2022!
Capricorn arrived alert, was taking good breaths and had a steady heart rate. They had some slight bruising on the plastron and were a little thin, but otherwise they were decent body condition. The radiographs showed mild pneumonia, but the digestive tract looked good. They even had a good amount of crab shell in their gut, which indicates that they were eating recently before stranding from the cold. They were started on antibiotics and fluids and tested in a tank. They showed no issues with buoyancy and were strong enough to stay in the water overnight.
December 15, 2022: Capricorn was alert and active in their tank from the beginning; they even began to eat slowly after a few days. They will continue to receive antibiotics and gradual diet increases throughout their rehab stay but we are pleased with their progress so far!
January 15, 2023: Capricorn is cruising through their rehab process! They continue to eat well and gain weight. Capricorn finished their antibiotic series at the end of December and looked so good that they were able to be moved up to tank 2 in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™ with some tank mates: Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces.
February 15, 2023: This little Kemp’s was able to make a quick recovery in rehab! Based on bloodwork, a physical exam and many other bench marks, it was decided that it was time for Capricorn to go home! They made the trek down to Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida to be released in warmer waters along with eight of their turtle friends. Wish them luck out in the big blue!