Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: North Island, SC
Arrival Date: 07/30/2015
Weight: 75.7 kg (~167 pounds)
Brian Reece, a technician employed at Yawkey Wildlife Preserve, was out surveying for wild hogs when he came across this adult female loggerhead stuck in the sand at the high tide line. Interestingly, Brian Reece is also the person who found and helped rescue Yawkey, our first and only live stranded leatherback sea turtle, this past March. Since this female loggerhead was clearly emaciated and in distress, Brian contacted SCDNR and helped facilitate this turtle’s transfer to our sea turtle hospital for medical treatment.
Permitted SCDNR volunteers Barb Gobien and Barb Bergwerf, both of whom also volunteer in our sea turtle hospital, transported this big girl to the Aquarium. This adult loggerhead, being much larger than the juveniles we typically admit, barely fit in the blue plastic kiddie pool used for transport! Upon arrival, our team began providing supportive care including injectable antibiotics, vitamins, and fluid therapy. Blood work was poor, but not nearly as bad as some of the other debilitated loggerheads we’ve admitted this year. However, her load of leeches is severe, and we’ll need to give her freshwater baths over the next few days to aid in removing these leeches from her mouth, nose, and other soft tissues. Prognosis is fair.
12 August 2015: Reece is slowly beginning to recover in a filtered tank in our sea turtle hospital. Yesterday, her strength had finally improved to the point where we were confident that she could tolerate being in a full tank of water without struggling to surface to breathe. She is eating well and beginning to pass fecals, both of which are positive signs of recovery.
22 January 2016: Reece has improved drastically over the past several months since her admit back in July of 2015. Her activity level, body condition, and weight has greatly improved. Reece is pulled for weight and measurements routinely every month. This data is essential as it helps hospital staff monitor her growth and to be able to adjust her diet accordingly. Yesterday we pulled this adult female loggerhead for weight and measurements, and as you can probably imagine moving a 200 pound animal is no small task! It usually takes at least four people to be able to lift her out of the 1,000 gallon tank and onto a scale where we can perform a physical examination. Since last month Reece has gained 4 kg (9 lb.) and now weighs 200 pounds, a 33 lb. increase since her arrival at the hospital! Reece is doing so well in fact that she is healthy enough to undergo cataract surgery. This procedure will be performed in the next few months, by Dr. Anne Cook, and will mark the sixth patient to undergo this type of surgery. Once the cataract in her right eye is removed we are predicting she will be ready for release in late spring early summer!
May 10, 2016
Isle of Palms County Park