Mystic, Conn. (February 13, 2017): According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, by this time 41.6% of people have jettisoned their New Year’s resolutions. Just this week, Mystic Aquarium cast asea a Resolution as well. Resolution the Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtle that is!
The species is named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman from Key West, FL, who first submitted the species for identification in 1906. This Kemp’s, in particular, was given the moniker Resolution after being rescued off the coast of Block Island (RI) on December 31, 2015. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Team worked with local first responders on New Year’s Eve that year to rescue the turtle that had become cold-stunned and stranded.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries defines cold-stunning as a ‘hypothermic reaction that occurs when sea turtles are exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. Initial symptoms include a decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death.’
As an endangered species, the survival of Resolution was critically important to Mystic Aquarium and its animal care professionals.
Upon arrival at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic, the juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found to have typical signs of debilitation associated with cold stress and was also diagnosed with pneumonia. Immediately the veterinary staff started the turtle on antibiotic therapy. The pneumonia responded well to medical management. The turtle also exhibited symptoms of a chronic persistent bone infection of the maxillary beak. As a result of the bone infection, Resolution received top-quality veterinary care in the Animal Rescue Clinic at Mystic Aquarium for nearly a year.
Throughout treatment, Resolution received both anti-fungal and antibiotic medications as well as weekly wound debridements and cleanings. Serial radiographs closely monitored Resolution’s rehabilitation.
“Resolution remained bright, alert, and active,” said Chief Clinical Veterinarian, Dr. Jen Flower, with a smile.
With the ultimate goal of releasing the fully-recovered sea turtle in a warm water climate, Resolution was transported to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on December 14, 2016 to complete its rehabilitation.
The efforts of a network of volunteer pilots helped to transport Resolution along with 10 other sea turtles from New England Aquarium that were also victims of cold-stunning off the New England coast. These pilots volunteer not only their time but also donate the required fuel for the transport.
After picking the group of turtles from New England Aquarium’s Quincy, Mass.-based Animal Care Center, the plane stopped at the Groton Airport, Groton, CT, to pick up Resolution before heading on to Jekyll Island, the location of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
After several more months of rehab at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the triumphant and ultimate goal was realized on Thursday, February 2.
“I am so thankful to our first responders, the veterinary and animal care professionals here at Mystic, the volunteer pilots, and, of course, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center,” said Janelle Schuh, Stranding Coordinator for Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic.
And, while adult Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are considered the smallest marine turtle in the world, the undertaking to care for Resolution was anything but small.
“Every time we release an animal back into its natural habitat, it is a win for us,” continued Schuh. “But when the animal is as crucial to the survival of the species, it is even more gratifying.”
ABOUT MYSTIC AQUARIUM’S ANIMAL RESCUE PROGRAM
Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need and educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants. The public is encouraged to call the aquarium’s 24-hour hotline at 860.572.5955 ext. 107 if they encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in CT, RI or Fishers Island, NY. Mystic Aquarium is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network. This network in comprised of organizations along the eastern sea coast which have facilities and trained staff to care for sick and injured animals. Marine Mammals are protected species, so only groups and facilities authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service are permitted to handle these animals.
ABOUT MYSTIC AQUARIUM
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at MysticAquarium.org.
Stevi Bramich | March 9th, 2017