Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Garden City Pier, Murrells Inlet, SC
Arrival Date: 5/18/2019
Weight: 2.02 kg (4.4 pounds)
This juvenile green sea turtle was accidentally caught on hook and line off the Garden City Pier. The fisherman hooked JJ by the flipper and was unable to get the hook loose so he contacted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). SCDNR volunteer transporter, Terry Graham, arrived to the pier and brought JJ the rest of the way to the South Carolina Aquarium for hook removal.
At admit, JJ was very feisty! The J-hook was embedded in his right front flipper in his shoulder region. He was in great body condition, no epibiota, and was at a very healthy weight. The hook was easily removed after lightly sedating and numbing the area. With mild swelling, staff was hopeful to release JJ fairly quickly as long as no other issues arose.
May 26, 2019: JJ was put into a tank with lower water and offered some food the following day. JJ was offered food and devoured it immediately, which is a great sign! We also collect poop from new patients as part of their health evaluation. We collect at least two fecals when a new patient comes in to look for parasites that might be living in the gut or intestines. Unfortunately, we found Caryospora in JJ’s fecal. This parasite can cause neurological issues in mass quantities and even be fatal. We are currently deworming JJ and continuing to check his fecal. Once he’s parasite free, he’ll be a candidate for release.
June 15, 2019: JJ has been doing pretty well since our last update! We are still checking his fecals weekly to see if he’s actively shedding the parasite Caryospora, and he is. We treating him with a dewormer until he is clear of it. Other than that, JJ is very active and is eating like a champ!
July 1, 2019: JJ’s Caryospora load seems to be decreasing! Once we have a couple weeks where his fecals are clear, he’ll be good to go. Fingers crossed the parasite is gone soon so that JJ can go back home!
July 16, 2019: We are still collecting fecals to check for the parasite Caryospora. Once he has several clear, or negative fecals in a row, he will be re-evaluated for release.
August 1, 2019: JJ’s fecal has been clear for the past several weeks, which means he could be ready to go home! Since he’s already been tagged for release, we just need to reevaluate his bloodwork and do a thorough medical exam. If he passes everything with flying colors, we then have 2 weeks before he has to go back home. Be sure to stay tuned on our social media pages for any details regarding his release!
August 15, 2019: JJ was released out in the beautiful saltmarsh of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge with the help of our friends over at Coastal Expeditions who boated us out to a perfect, quiet release location.