Mississippi Aquarium treating endangered loggerhead sea turtle

A critically ill and severely injured loggerhead sea turtle caught on the Gulf State Park Fishing Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, will receive medical care from the veterinary team at Mississippi Aquarium. The endangered loggerhead sea turtle was caught on a fishing line last week, but she managed to escape. The turtle was re-caught on October 7 and brought to the pier by rescuers.

The turtle had multiple hooks and other fishing gear stuck in her flippers, shell, and mouth, a severely fractured shell and visible barnacles attached all over her body. Due to the size of the turtle, Mississippi Aquarium was the only facility in the area capable of taking care of the sea turtle.

"Lyndsey Howell, NOAA's Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network State Coordinator for Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, called Mississippi Aquarium for help as no other rehabilitation centers in the area were able to handle a turtle of her size," Mississippi Aquarium Vice President of Veterinary Services Alexa Delaune said. "The Aquarium's veterinary team drove to Gulf Shores to meet the rescuers and pick up the injured turtle to bring her back to our clinic for evaluation."

Delaune said Dr. Sean Perry performed the initial exam on the injured sea turtle and removed five hooks from the turtle's limbs, mouth, and body. She said the blood work conducted by Perry revealed underlying illnesses. "The bloodwork showed the turtle is very anemic and has low protein," Delaune said. "Dr. Perry suspects that the carapace injury is very old and likely due to a boat strike. Our veterinary team took x-rays of the sea turtle and found three additional hooks in the gastrointestinal tract. The turtle will require very long-term, intensive care and many procedures to address her medical issues."

The medical care and rehabilitation provided for the loggerhead sea turtle are the latest conservation efforts for endangered sea turtles by Mississippi Aquarium. Earlier this year, the Aquarium released several endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles into the Mississippi Sound that were treated and rehabbed at Mississippi Aquarium.


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