Posts Tagged 'loggerhead sea turtle'



Update on the loggerhead in rehab

The loggerhead sea turtle that was admitted at the end of August is doing very well in rehab. She is eating about 2 pounds of food per day; her diet consists of shrimp, squid (calamari!), capelin, and two blue crabs. She’s keeping the staff and volunteers on their toes with how strong she’s getting!

MARP staff has also introduced enrichment into her daily routine. Staff monitors her closely to make sure she cannot destroy or ingest the enrichment items. So far heavy-duty dog toys are doing the trick, since she can’t get her sharp beak on these toys to shred them.

Enrichment

We’ll continue to update you on her progress throughout her stay here at the National Aquarium!

A salute to Jimmy & Teddy

This Presidents’ Day, join us in celebrating our two heads of state that are now residing in the Gray’s Reef exhibit at our Washington, DC, venue. Two adorable baby loggerhead sea turtles, named Jimmy and Teddy, came to their new temporary home in the nation’s capital from the North Carolina Aquarium, which is leading an effort to help rebuild sea turtle populations.

Jimmy and Teddy

The two turtles are named after presidents Jimmy Carter and Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt was well known for his conservation role while president; he greatly expanded the National Parks System. The National Aquarium’s freshwater gallery represents many of our National Parks today. Similarly, President Jimmy Carter designated Gray’s Reef, in the southeastern United States, as a National Marine Sanctuary. A Gray’s Reef exhibit is also represented at the Aquarium, and is the current home for the loggerheads.

Sea turtles have a challenging life. Weighing just 20 grams at birth, they face many natural predators both on the sandy beaches where they are hatched and in the oceans where they will dwell when they get older. Loggerheads were once actively hunted for their eggs and meat, and still are in some places of the world. Because of their low survival rate, they have been classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In order to help save these magnificent animals from extinction, we participate in the North Carolina Aquarium’s program that gives baby sea turtles a better chance at survival. Through this program, sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow. Once they are given a clean bill of health and an extra boost of nutrition, they are released back to the ocean.

The turtles were hatched on September 1 in North Carolina, and were brought to the Aquarium in mid-November. They have already tripled their weight since they arrived! The turtles now weigh more than 350 grams each. It is estimated that they will weigh around 1,500 grams (a little over 3 pounds) by fall when they will be returned to North Carolina for release into the ocean. Eventually, these turtles could weigh up to 200 pounds!

Under the Aquarium’s care, the turtles are measured monthly and will undergo exams with X-rays and blood work at 6 months old and 1 year old. The staff is also monitoring their calcium levels to ensure healthy shell growth. They are pole fed by the staff, who have noticed that the turtles love to steal food from the fish. They are very quick and love diving to the bottom to pick up leftovers that the fish don’t eat.

Next time you are visiting Washington, DC, stop in to see our adorable heads of state, and salute two presidents who contributed so much to the conservation of some of the most precious habitats our great country has to offer!

Loggerhead turtle released, and headed south

Every Sea Turtle Counts. After a year-long rehabilitation, the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) has returned a now-healthy loggerhead sea turtle to its ocean habitat!  Over 500 people gathered on the beach at Assateague State Park for the release and watched in anticipation as the turtle swam through the waves, and returned to sea! Here is the video:

As you have just heard, to the National Aquarium, investing time and resources to healing one individual sea turtle is important because there are only seven living species of sea turtles globally, and all of them are either endangered or threatened.  When this loggerhead came to us it was unlikely to survive much less continue to propagate its species. Now that it is healthy, we have every reason to believe that it will be successful in its natural environment.

 Click here to track the turtle’s travels online! The Aquarium fitted it with a satellite tag, funded by the Shared Earth Foundation, which is transmitting information about its location and speed. As of yesterday the turtle has traveled 46 miles and is heading south to warmer waters!

The Aquarium is committed to protecting and rehabilitating sea turtles and needs public support to continue this important work. The MARP program is funded solely by grants and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of just one marine animal can cost the program up to $50,000. Donations can be made via mail or on the Aquarium’s website at http://www.aqua.org/makeadifference/marp.html.

Rescued sea turtle awaits release

After spending over a year in rehabilitation at the National Aquarium, the loggerhead sea turtle rescued by the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Resque Program (MARP) last July is now ready to be returned to the ocean! The MARP team will release the turtle from Assateague State Park on Saturday, September 19th in conjunction with Maryland Coastal Bays program’s Coast Day event.

MARP rescued the turtle after it was found in dire condition by the United States Coast Guard off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The underweight turtle had living organisms and epibionts embedded on its shell, so it could not dive properly. Fortunately, with the help of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Outpatient Center, the Aquarium’s vet team was able to bring the the turtle to full recovery.

Here is a recent video of the turtle swimming about in the rehabilitation pool:

This was one of the longest rehabilitation periods for a marine animal rescued by MARP.  Within months, the turtle’s shell surface healed and it was able to regain diving ability and a normal diet.  Achieving these tasks enabled the struggling, 57 pound turtle to gain weight. Since then, it has enjoyed a diet of capelin, squid, and blue crabs and has been maintaining an ideal weight of 90 pounds. The turtle’s rehabilitation period was extended, however, due to infections that had grown deep into the shell as a result of the embedded organisms.

Continue reading ‘Rescued sea turtle awaits release’

From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay

From Jack Cover, General Curator at the National Aquarium

Sunday morning I went down to Kent Island to collect comb jellies for the Aquarium’s new Jellies exhibit. I took a boat out on No Name creek, which is just north of Romancoke. It was a partly cloudy day and the water was fairly calm as I looked around for comb jellies.Chesapeake Bay

I saw a lot of Atlantic sea nettles, which we have plenty of at the Aquarium, but very few combs. I was drifting about 200-300 yards east of No Name creek (a bit northeast of the Romancoke public pier) staring  into the water for comb jellies, which were very few and far between.  I know they were there but were not coming to the surface because the conditions were just not right- small waves, they like perfect calm.

As I continued to look I saw a cownose ray swim along the surface about 50 feet away. All was quiet and mostly still. Then suddenly, about 4 feet off the side of the boat , a big object lauched out of the water like a polaris missile. I was completely startled and, at first, thought a diver was blowing up out of the water. It turned out to be an adult loggerhead sea turtle who was in obvious need of a big  breath of air and launched partly out of the water!

Continue reading ‘From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay’


Sign up for AquaMail

Like us on Facebook!

Twitter Updates