Critical care continues for ailing sea turtles

The crew at NEAq during a feeding session that can last up to four hours. Each turtle is offered herring and squid and many are getting oral medications and vitamins.  This post was filed by Belinda Rubinstein, one of our IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research responders that helped care for turtles rescued during an unprecedented sea turtle cold stunning event. -- KP

I have spent the last five weeks at the New England Aquarium (NEAq) helping wherever needed to ease the strain on the staff there.

In a four week period, the facility brought in over 700 sea turtles.  

The turtles were stabilized and then many were transported to other facilities across the United States, where they will continue their rehabilitation and then be released.

RELATED: Critically endangered sea turtles get a much-needed lift

The fifty turtles that are still in residence are among the sickest of the sea turtles brought in this season. These turtles were not well enough to be transported to other facilities and have multiple injuries and illnesses.

Many of these turtles came in late in the year and were exposed to very cold temperature extremes. Many were out during the Nor’easter that came through in mid-December.  

These turtles have shell fractures and bone exposure, severe pneumonia and septicemia (infection in the blood).They are being treated several times a week with antibiotics and their multiple wounds are being cleaned and medicated.  

One of the most important things to do as well is to get these animals' eating, and with so many ailments, it is no surprise that they need some coaxing. Once they begin eating it often helps them turn a corner and improve.  

The picture attached is of the crew at NEAq during a feeding session that can last up to four hours. Each turtle is offered herring and squid and many are getting oral medications and vitamins.  

It takes a lot of patience but is very rewarding to get them to start eating again.

It has been a pleasure working with the dedicated staff and volunteers at the New England Aquarium, as well as the representatives from various other institutions across the east coast that made their way to the Aquarium to volunteer their time.  

It has been very rewarding to know that we are helping to safeguard the lives of these endangered animals'.

One person can make a difference.

--BR

Update on turtle #727 that was discussed in my earlier blog - This turtle was transported to Gulf World Marine Park in Florida in late December and will continue its' rehabilitation and then be released.

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Experts

Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy