Animal Rescue Update: 2015 Off to a Busy Start

Published January 23, 2015

by Jenn Dittmar, Manager of National Aquarium Animal Rescue

As a historic 2014 cold-stun season unfolded for the New England area, the National Aquarium admitted 31 sea turtles for rehabilitation–many of which arrived in critical condition.

Over the past two months, our Animal Health and Animal Rescue teams have worked overtime to triage the turtles and as a result, we were able to release nine healthy turtles back to their natural environment near Jacksonville, Florida.

Sixteen of the remaining 22 turtles are actively being treated for pneumonia, eye infections, cataracts, joint lesions and various other illnesses. Many of these turtles are responding well to treatment, but will remain in rehabilitation for a while. 

rehab area

We’re happy to report, however, that six of our current patients are ready for release! Our team will be making another trip to Florida next week to release them back into the Atlantic. 

While we still have 22 turtles from the 2014 cold-stun season, we also have one patient from the 2013 cold-stun season that is still in rehabilitation with us. You can read more about Cougar’s case here, but he has been a complex medical case. He’s currently healing some severe shell lesions and will continue to remain in rehab. His body is fighting a good fight, and our Animal Health staff aren’t giving up on him as long as his body keeps responding well to treatment. 

In addition to Cougar, we have several other interesting medical cases this season. Zoot (#45) is one of the smallest turtles we currently have in rehab, and had active infections in both eyes on admittance. Zoot has been receiving daily eye drops in both eyes and the infection is slowly clearing. Our Animal Health staff are closely monitoring Zoot for any corneal changes. 

turtle exam

Zippity Zap (#35) is another interesting case – he was admitted with severe pneumonia and a blood infection. Zippity Zap was so sick on admittance that the initial antibiotic therapy wasn’t strong enough to the fight the infections. After changing his antibiotic prescription, I’m happy to report that Zippity Zap is healing well, and more importantly is EATING well.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress and cute antics of our current patients! Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram for behind-the-scenes updates.

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Jenn Dittmar

Manager of National Aquarium Animal Rescue

National Aquarium - Jen Dittmar

About Jenn Dittmar

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