Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 7/1/2021
Weight: 3.2 kg (7 lbs)
Garnet was caught by a fisher late in the evening on June 30, 2021. The fisher removed all of the fishing line before they were instructed by South Carolina Department of Natura Resources (SCDNR) responders not to. SCDNR transporter and permit holder in Hilton Head, Amber Kuehn, took the turtle in overnight until it could be safely transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ by SCDNR technician, Meredith Bean, the following morning.
Based on bloodwork results and her physical exam, Garnet was stable and in good body condition, so she was sedated for hook removal. After some trial and error, Dr. Lauren got the massive circle hook out of Garnet’s mouth. We gave Garnet the sedation reversals. Initially, she responded strongly to them and woke up very quickly. After about half an hour though, she became mostly unresponsive and stopped breathing on her own. We intubated her and began breathing for her regularly. Later in the afternoon, we put Garnet on a ventilator machine that would give her breaths automatically. Care Center and veterinary staff took shifts throughout the night of July 1 to continue monitoring Garnet’s condition. We regularly checked her heart rate and responsiveness, as well as kept an eye on the ventilator. After a long night of patient care, Garnet started breathing on her own and was able to be extubated and placed in a shallow water tank later on that morning.
July 15, 2021: Garnet has really made a complete 180 since her rocky admission to the Care Center. She is now eating really well all on her own and enjoys spending time resting under her enrichment in her tank. Knock on wood, she’s smooth sailing so far!
August 15, 2021: Garnet has been doing well and recently was moved into a tank with Smoky Quartz! They are divided to limit aggression between one another, but they have both adapted well to their new roommate situation. Garnet likes to sleep in her seagrass to hide from the outside world and camouflage to feel safe. We are happy with her improvement and hope she continues on this path!
September 9, 2021: All of Garnet’s bloodwork came back looking great, so Garnet was cleared for release and is now swimming free in her ocean home!