Texas State Aquarium Treating Four Different Sea Turtle Species for the First Time Ever
May 17, 2018
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – For the first time in its 23-year history, the Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center is caring for four different sea turtle species simultaneously. Between May 5 and 6, a juvenile loggerhead, green and hawksbill sea turtle were taken into the Wildlife Rescue Center, joining two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles currently under care at the center along with several other injured green sea turtles. This marks the first time these four major Gulf of Mexico species have been treated at the same time by the Aquarium.
The green, loggerhead, and hawksbill sea turtles were initially transported to the Rescue Center after being found stranded on the beach by staff and volunteers at the Padre Island National Seashore – Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery. All were found nearly motionless and would almost certainly have died had they not been rescued. The loggerhead sea turtle is missing two back flippers and will likely be non-releasable, but will be treated and once it recovers in health, will be relocated to a permanent home at either the Aquarium or a partnering facility. The green sea turtle was found to have a skull fracture and an eye-injury, meaning it’s possible it will also be non-releasable. The hawksbill will be treated and held at the Rescue Center till it can be evaluated for release, and the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are recovering quickly and will soon be ready to be released. All of the sea turtles are currently placed in water systems to evaluate their ability to swim and feed.
Since the Texas State Aquarium first began rescuing ill and injured wildlife in 1995, it’s treated thousands of ill and injured wildlife, primarily shorebirds and raptors with the occasional sea turtle and marine mammal patient. Since late 2017, the Texas State Aquarium has seen a significant increase in sea turtle patients, but has mostly treated green sea turtles affected by cold-stunning. In January-February 2018, Wildlife Rescue treated and released more than 1,000 green sea turtles.
“This latest intake of sea turtle species signals a major milestone for our rapidly-expanding Wildlife Rescue program,” said TSA’s Senior VP and COO Jesse Gilbert. “Thanks to our highly-skilled staff and productive relationship with our partners at Padre Island National Seashore, we’ve rescued a greater quantity and diversity of sea turtles in the past several months than we have in all the years before.”
To learn more about the Texas State Aquarium’s sea turtle rescue efforts, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org/turtlerescue.