Endangered sea turtle rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild

Endangered sea turtle rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild

A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was released back into the wild Wednesday after being rehabilitated due to injury.

On July 26, 2016, biologists from LDWF were contacted regarding a report of an incidentally captured live sea turtle.

Bobby Aguillard, a commercial shrimper, captured the animal while trawling in Cameron Parish.

Following communications with Mandy Tumlin, Louisiana's Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding and Rescue Program Coordinator, Aguillard brought the turtle onboard and transported him safely to land.

LDWF biologists later transported the federally protected species to Audubon's Coastal Wildlife Network at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center for treatment.

"Once the turtle was brought to us for rehabilitation, a full exam was administered to assess the animal's health," said Audubon's Stranding Coordinator Gabriella Vazquez. "The animal was slightly emaciated and dehydrated. Also, we noted a mouth and shoulder injury potentially caused from the turtle's capture."

Named "Raye" by Audubon animal care staff, the turtle received antibiotics, fluids and rest. Pain medications were administered and staff used a feeding tube for the first few days until the turtle could eat on his own.

Following an increase in appetite that produced a healthy weight gain, Audubon's veterinarian cleared the turtle for release. Tumlin collaborated with other researchers to determine the best release location for the juvenile sea turtle, and Audubon and LDWF partnered to release the rescued animal back into the wild.

Prior to release, LDWF tagged the sea turtle. Additionally, each of its front flippers received an external flipper tag with numbers specific to this turtle for identification purposes should it be captured again.

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