Yesterday, June 16th was the National Sea Turtle Day when twelve sea turtles were released by the people who saved them. June 16th was also the 25th anniversary of the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Animal Rescue Program. The twelve turtles were found stranded on the shorelines of the East Coast.
The National Marine Life Center and Pittsburgh Zoo’s & PPG Aquarium took ten of them whereas other two young specimens, known as ‘Beachcomber’ and ‘Hardhead’ were offered shelter in Baltimore. According to Amber White, animal rescue stranding coordinator from the National Aquarium, a stranded turtle is highly vulnerable to many factors of risk, such as various infections and hypothermia.
Hypothermia occurs when you get too cold and stay in that state for a longer period. When Beachcomber was found in the Cape Cod, its kidneys were severely damaged by a rare blood infection. Fortunately, the little turtle pulled through after an intense treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
Hardhead was found stranded on the Delaware shoreline with a couple of broken ribs, a torn lung and a body temperature of 59 degrees. Experts from the aquarium believe that the little sea turtle was hit by a boat, collision which left it unable to swim. Fortunately, thanks to the veterinarians from the aquarium, Hardhead fully recovered.
According to White, boats are one of the biggest threats to sea turtles along with plastic pollution, nets and lines set by fishermen. Unfortunately, hunting, pollution, and fishing industry have brought many of the sea turtles species on the verge of extinction.
Leatherbacks, Loggerheads, Green sea turtle, and Kemp’s Ridley are all endangered species. Leatherbacks are also the largest sea turtles on the planet as they can reach 2,000 pounds and have few natural predators.
Despite this, based on the latest survey from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, around 60,000 Leatherbacks and 250,000 Loggerheads are trapped every year on longlines, or they swallow the hooks and then die from internal bleeding. In other words, long-line fishing is one of the biggest sea turtle killers throughout the world.
Sea turtles are protected by law since 1973. Therefore, commercial fishing vessels should have safety measures to protect sea turtles from getting caught in their fishing lines or nets.
Image Source:Great Barrier Reef