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The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research, and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals and the study of their health. Since 1975, the Center has rescued and treated more than 16,500 marine mammals and has accumulated a body of knowledge about marine mammal and ocean health. Through public education about marine mammals, the Center hopes to foster ocean stewardship and conservation. For more information, visit http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rare Loggerhead Turtle Rescue



Photos: Sue Pemberton

On Monday, November 10th, we admitted a 44.5 lb juvenille loggerhead sea turtle. It was found on Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay & was rescued by TMMC volunteer Sue Pemberton. The turtle was in stable condition, had barnacles on its flippers & carapace and was fairly active. The turtle, nicknamed Shotgun because it rode "shotgun" in the rescue vehicle, was immediately transported to San Diego SeaWorld for rehabilitation. Volunteers Deborah Gabris, Jenni James and Susan Tripp received the turtle from Sue and helped transport it to Sea World.

The staff at SeaWorld report that Shotgun is currently weak, lethargic & being tube fed twice a day. They have removed the barnacles on the flippers, but left the one on its carapace. Preliminary diagnosis is that it is cold-stunned from being in the cooler waters along our coast. When placed in a warm water tank, the barnacle on the carapace opened up and inside was a shore crab that had hitched a ride!

This is a pretty unique stranding as loggerheads tend to be more of an off-shore species regularly in the waters around Japan. Researchers in Hawaii have occasionally tracked this species a few hundred Km off the central coast, but don’t recall other strandings in the region. This is the first loggerhead stranding we have had. While the Center responds mainly to pinnipeds and ceteceans, rescuers occassionally receive calls for stranded sea turtles. Shotgun is the first loggerhead turtle the Center has rescued in it's 33+ year history.

UPDATE 12-08-08: The center's Stranding Department received the following update from Shotgun's caretakers at Sea World: "The loggerhead has started eating on its own. It’s been receiving around 2lbs of food a day and will be increased to 3lbs this week. The turtle has gained 4lbs since we received it. The overall look of the turtle has improved significantly."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is Shotgun doing? Jeri

The Marine Mammal Center said...

Hi Jeri. A report as of 12/08/08: The loggerhead has started eating on its own. It’s been receiving around 2lbs of food a day and will be increased to 3lbs this week. The turtle has gained 4lbs since being transferred. The overall look of the turtle has improved significantly.

Anonymous said...

Anyone besides me thinking of the bitterly sweet irony less than a month before we featured a green sea turtle on our 2009 TMMC Calendar we take in such a rare find as this beleaguered loggerhead sea turtle?

;D

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