Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012 Sea Turtle Rescues

Today my son Jamie and I headed to Wareham to pick up a sea turtle that had been reported as stranded in that area. As we headed south on Route 495, my son asked me if the turtle would be alive. I said I did not know, but we could only hope that it was.

When we arrived on site, we were met by local residence David, Jay, Nat and Suze who directed us to the location of the sea turtle on the beach. We found a medium-sized loggerhead sea turtle at the high tide line, but unfortunately, it did not appear to be alive.

We put the turtle in the truck and thanked everyone for their amazing help. And then off Jamie and I went to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to deliver the loggerhead to Bob Prescott and his team.

Jamie with the loggerhead as we arrive at Wellfleet Bay. 

Bob Prescott and his staff which included Molly, Tom and Michael weighed the loggerhead (approx. 40 lbs.) and collected a number of external body measurements. This carcass will now go into the freezer and will be necropsied this spring down at Woods Hole. 

Weighing the sea turtle. 
Tom using calipers to determine the length of the shell.
Tom using calipers to collect body measurements.  
Tom measuring the length of the shell.
Tom measuring the girth of the turtle. 
Tom examining the plastron of the loggerhead. 
It is very sad that this loggerhead died in Buzzards Bay. But hopefully the information that we obtain from this carcass will help us better understand and protect this endangered species in our New England waters. 

As Jamie and I headed home, we received a call from a local resident, Donna, about a stranded sea turtle at Rock Harbor. Since we were still on the Cape and close to exit 11, we turned around and headed back to the Orleans rotary. 

Jamie with the Kemp's ridley sea turtle. 
When we arrived at Rock Harbor, Donna met us on the beach and showed us where the sea turtle was located. This turned out to be a little Kemp's ridley sea turtle, the most endangered of all the sea turtles in our waters. 

After thanking Donna for her time and efforts on the sea turtle's behalf, we had an unsettling feeling that this turtle was also dead. When we arrived back at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, the team confirmed our suspicion by indicating that this turtle was indeed dead. 

How very sad to lose two sea turtles in one day. We can only hope for a better day, one filled with live sea turtle rescues. On the way home, I had one very tired boy who slept in the car most of the ride home. A big day filled with rescues and sea turtles. Sweet dreams!