Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Near St. Catherines Island, Georgia

Arrival Date: 10/23/2010

Age: juvenile

Weight: 13.88 kg (~31 lb)

Case History

This 10.24 kg (22.6 lbs) Kemp’s ridley was captured 22 October 2010 during a trawl net survey being conducted in Georgia waters by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) SEAMAP research vessel, the Lady Lisa. Once on deck, the crew discovered a barb from a southern stingray had penetrated the right side of the turtle’s neck. A cooperative effort between the SCDNR and the SCA resulted in this ridley’s admittance into the SCA’s Sea Turtle Hospital early Saturday morning.

Treatment

Following a thorough physical exam and blood work, St. Catherine was immediately anesthetized and prepped for surgery. Radiographs revealed the stingray barb had migrated inward into the swollen tissues of the neck overnight, which made locating the barb extremely difficult. Once the barb was located and removed, the wound was thoroughly flushed and the incision was sutured. St. Catherine was started on an analgesic and two injectable antibiotic medications.

Updates

8 November 2010: St. Catherine recovered well from surgery. S/he has full use of her right front flipper, and the surgical incision is healing well. However, s/he is not an aggressive eater and still requires prompting to consume her daily diet of fish.

29 November 2010: St. Catherine has been relocated to a filtered tank and is eating well. Recent blood work results are good and the surgical wound continues to heal and close.

15 January 2011: St. Catherine’s neck wound is 95% healed and she is thriving in our hospital.

14 March 2011: Due to space limitations, St. Catherine has been sharing a tank with our other sub-adult ridley, Little Debbie, for several weeks now. Luckily, St. Catherine seems apathetic about her tank-mate and both ridleys are doing very well.

7 May 2011: Thank you to SCDNR for rescuing this turtle and for releasing her back into the wild today!

Release Date

05/07/2011

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park, SC