Cavin is one of fifteen sea turtles transferred from the New England Aquarium (NEAq) to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital on November 20, 2014. This Kemp’s ridley was one of more than a thousand sea turtles afflicted with severe hypothermia and recovered (alive or dead) from the beaches and nearshore waters of Massachusetts during an unprecedented cold-stunning event in late November 2014. Thanks to the generosity of a private flight donated by Margie and Will Dorminy, owners of Southern Eagle Distributing in Charleston, we are proud to be one of more than 17 facilities nationwide to aid NEAq in caring for the massive number of threatened and endangered sea turtles stranded due to this cold-stunning event.
Cavin was admitted to NEAq’s rehabilitation center with a core body temperature of only 52.4°F. Although thin and lethargic with dry skin and a bruised and sunken plastron (lower shell), this juvenile ridley’s heart rate was slow but strong at 10 beats per minute (bpm). Treatment included a very slow warming process, as well as fluids, antibiotics, and x-rays to assess the lungs for the presence of pneumonia. Cavin was well-behaved on his flight from Massachusetts to South Carolina, and arrived in good condition with a heart rate of 26 bpm. Our vet noted mild corneal adhesions on the right eye during admission, so Cavin’s eyes will be closely watched during his first few weeks in our sea turtle hospital. Although Cavin was not suffering from any severe maladies upon arrival, he refused to consume the healthy fish we offered him on a daily basis until December 1st, making him one of the last two transferred cold-stunned ridleys to begin eating the delicious mackerel, salmon, and smelt we feed our sea turtle patients. Currently, Cavin and his tank-mate, Fitz, are now devouring the food we offer on a daily basis, and prognosis is good.
11 May 2015: All of our cold-stunned ridleys admitted this past winter have officially recovered from severe hypothermia. Although four of our ridleys will stay in our hospital for continued treatment for the joint infection osteomyelitis, this patient was officially medically cleared for release today!