Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Edisto Island, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 7/18/2021
Weight: 2.7 kg (5.9 lbs)
Caspian was caught by a fisher on Edisto Island on July 18, 2021. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) permit holder, Kristi Summers, responded and ensured that the fishing line was cut long enough to follow and taped to the shell for safety during transport. She then met with SCDNR staff member, Charlotte Hope, to transport the turtle to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for treatment.
Caspian was in good body condition and appeared relatively stable based on the bloodwork and physical exam. X-rays were taken to determine the location and angle of the hook, and then the turtle was sedated so the hook could be removed as quickly as possible. The J-hook was deeply embedded in the esophagus and located near the trachea, which made the removal process more difficult. After some manipulation, Dr. Lauren was able to free the hook from the tissue and remove it through the mouth without requiring surgery. Caspian was given antibiotics, fluids and vitamins and allowed to rest quietly overnight in a padded bin while the sedation wore off.
By the next morning, Caspian was more responsive and alert in the bin. Care Center staff moved him to a shallow tank to assess further, and he was actively swimming and navigating well. The tank water level was gradually increased to half full, and Caspian was strong enough to leave in the water. After an oral hook removal procedure, we usually wait at least a few days to start offering food in order to allow the wounds in the mouth to heal. Caspian was just offered food for the first time and ate right away with no complications. We are so pleased with his progress!
July 29, 2021: Caspian has been settling in well over the past week! We fasted him for a few days after the hook was removed to give his esophagus time to heal. Caspian began eating immediately which is great sign, and we are going to increase his diet over the next few weeks. Caspian just needs to finish up his antibiotics, and hopefully he will be able to return to the big blue in the next few months.
August 15, 2021: Caspian has been doing really well over the past month and is still getting diet increases. We expect Caspian to have a quick recovery if everything continues to go well.
September 15, 2021: Caspian has been doing great since our last update! As long as everything continues to go smoothly, he is on track to making a quick recovery.
October 15, 2021: Caspian, along with a few other patients, was P.I.T tagged, received a pre-release exam and blood pull. Caspian passed all of their pre-release parameters with flying colors and was released back into the big blue on Folly Beach!