Fitz- Sea Turtle Rescue Program


Dec 18


Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Great Island, Wellfleet, MAArrival Date: 11/20/2014Age: JuvenileWeight: 2.2 kg (~5 lb.)

Case History

Fitz 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.


This small juvenile Kemp’s ridley stranded in Massachusetts on November 15th. Despite being inundated with new strandings, the rehabilitation specialists at NEAq efficiently stabilized this turtle and closely monitored his blood work to preventatively treat the potentially fatal physiological derangements that commonly occur in cold-stunned sea turtles. Fluids and antibiotics were administered to counteract dehydration and an elevated white blood cell count, and Fitz was stable enough for the flight to South Carolina by the 20th. Upon arrival, our team noted that Fitz’s lower right eyelid was swollen and necrotic but, otherwise, this little ridley was feisty and in relatively decent shape. However, Fitz remained oddly inappetant until December 1st, at which point he began eating the salmon, mackerel, and smelt we commonly feed our sea turtle patients. 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!

Release Date

May 14, 2015

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park
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