TurtleTrek Welcomes Big Mama and Caton

Rehabilitated turtles Big Mama and Caton make it to SeaWorld's TurtleTrek.In 2010 the nation’s attention was on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one that would impact (and continues to impact) the environment and animals that call the Gulf home. One animal rescued off the coast of Louisiana was a female loggerhead turtle. Big
Mama, as she came to be called due to her 245-pound size, has been receiving care
from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport, MS since her arrival August 4, 2010.

20130705_Big-Mama-Turtle-Exam_04Big Mama had bite wounds and was missing parts of her front and hind flippers. Because of these injuries, she was unable to swim properly, making it impossible for her to survive in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed her non-releasable in 2012.

The IMMS worked with other agencies to find a more permanent home where she could have a larger habitat and interact with other animals, and so she could educate others with her story.

20130705_Big-Mama-Turtle-Exam_04Caton, a 95-pound subadult, was initially found stranded in 2009 on Ossabaw Island and was treated by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC). In December she was considered healthy enough to be returned to the wild, but Caton had other plans. The subadult female loggerhead was taken to the warm waters of Cape Canaveral National Seashore. Rather than swimming off, Caton just sat there, prompting a return to the GSTC for a few more months rehabilitation. In a second attempt, Caton became stuck on a sandbar after unsuccessfully swimming back and forth in the shallows. In October 2012 she was released again to deep water, but one week later, reports of a loggerhead stranding led to Caton, again stranded on the beach.

Wildlife government officials involved, agree that Caton was unreleasable. Terry Norton, veterinarian and director of the center, agreed. “If an unreleasable sea turtle can survive comfortably in a captive setting, the center will make every attempt to place the turtle in a suitable facility,’’ he said.

turtletrekBig Mama and Caton will now have a new home at TurtleTrek, SeaWorld along with 14 other rescued sea turtles, including a hawksbill, 10 green and three other loggerheads who have all been deemed unreleasable. These animals will welcome guests at SeaWorld Orlando and will educate them about wildlife conservation. Together they will share the message that conservation is everyone’s responsibility. They’ll encourage each person to make a difference, and become “Everyday Heroes” through their day-to-day actions.

In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 22,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.

 

So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 52 and returned 45 sea turtles.

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Two Turtles Released by SeaWorld at Canaveral National Seashore

The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team went to Canaveral National Seashore today (July 17, 2012) to release two sea turtles that were rescued in February of this year.

The larger of the two, a 140-pound loggerhead turtle rescued from Melbourne Beach, was brought to SeaWorld after what was most likely a boat-strike injury. It received a thorough checkup, x-rays, andtibiotics and extensive treatment. Despite their best efforts, part of the turtle’s carapace, or shell, was lost.

The smaller green sea turtle was found beached at Canaveral National Seashore after having been caught in fishing line. Veterinarians cared for the injuries on its front flippers and neck with weekly treatments until it was healthy enough to be returned.

SeaWorld animal experts work tirelessly to help animals in need. With turtles that includes ensuring they are returned to the beach where they were found. Dan Conklin, SeaWorld Aquarium Supervisor said that “This is one of the most important nesting grounds on the planet for Loggerhead Sea Turtles.”

Loggerhead Turtle Who Swallowed a Hook is Released Today Thanks to SeaWorld

X-Ray shows 4" hook in Loggerhead's throat.

Four weeks ago a sub-adult Loggerhead turtle was found by biologists from the Inwater Research Group near the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. The 100-pound turtle was taken to SeaWorld, Orlando on February 26 with transport assistance from Inwater volunteers.

Initial tests, bloodwork, and x-rays confirmed the need for immediate surgery. The turtle had ingested a 4-inch-long fish hook.

Senior Veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft, one of three SeaWorld Orlando staff veterinarians, performed the surgery. It was one of the largest SeaWorld veterinarians have removed. Showing remarkable resilience, the turtle has made a quick recovery.

Dr. Croft watches on as aquarium staff members prepare the sea turtle for the x-ray procedure.

After a few short weeks of round-the-clock care, the turtle was deemed fit for release earlier this week.

This morning, Dan Conklin, aquarium supervisor at Seaworld, and dedicated staffers carefully loaded up the turtle for the ride to the beach before 8 a.m.

At Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, the loggerhead got one last lift from his friends at SeaWorld as they carried it from the transport vehicle to the water.

Peter Pan (as I’ve affectionately dubbed for his Hook-beating ways) moved steadily toward the water with many well-wishers around. At a little after 9 a.m. flippers could be seen darting through the waves as SeaWorld again helped an animal in need. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by SeaWorld experts. Their hard-working animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Peter Pan makes way for the surf.

Help a Turtle Out:

J-shaped hooks are easy for sea life to swallow, which is why anglers are urged to use the new “circle” hooks which are less likely to be ingested. Protect this and other threatened species by properly disposing of all trash, and securing fishing line that can also cause harm to our ocean friends.

Love me, and all my Loggerhead turtle friends and sea buddies, by being responsible when you're on, or around, waterways.

Celebrate the release by doing a Loggerhead craft!

Loggerhead Turtle Rehabilitated and Soon To Be Released Thanks to SeaWorld

This is one of the many turtles rescued and rehabilitated by the SeaWorld team.

I’m so excited that the sea turtle that had a 4-inch-long hook in its throat will be returning home to the waters of Cocoa Beach soon! Thank you SeaWorld and Inwater Research Group for finding and taking care of this beautiful animal and to the vets who removed the hook and helped it make a quick recovery!

SeaWorld Rehab Teams Are Ready to Roll when and where an animal needs them.

“The turtle, a sub-adult weighing approximately 100 pounds, was rescued from the intake canal at the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Fla. The animal arrived at SeaWorld Orlando February 26 and immediately underwent surgery following x-rays and blood work procedures. Vets removed a 4 inch-long fish hook, and after a speedy recovery, the turtle is now ready to be released back into the wild.

The loggerhead was found by the Inwater Research Group – an organization committed to the research and conservation of coastal species and habitats – who also assisted in the animal’s transport.

According to SeaWorld veterinarians, the fishing hook was one of the largest the team has removed to date. To help protect this threatened species, make sure fishing line and all trash is disposed of properly. When fishing, use new “circle” hooks – turtles are less likely to swallow the circle-shaped hooks than traditional J-shaped, which cause suffocation or internal bleeding when swallowed. Also, if a sea turtle’s nest is seen, please contact authorities.

This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nine sea turtles. For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need — ill, injured and orphaned. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts.‪ SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‪”