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Endangered Sea Turtle Released Back Into The Wild

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Conservation | Volunteering | Turtles

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hugh

It’s one of those feel good episodes that makes me proud that I volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific. An injured endangered green sea turtle is nursed back to health by Aquarium staff and released back into the wild.

The turtle which was rescued from the San Gabriel River sported numerous injuries that were treated by Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. Lance Adams. I was fortunate enough to help the Aquarium’s Vet Tech Colleen handle the turtle as it was being treated. The turtle had some serious looking wounds that were patched up nicely by Dr. Adams.

At first the staff was a bit concerned about getting the patient to eat during its recovery period but as it turned out, being an adaptable turtle, it proceeded to eat everything we put in front of its beak.

By the time the big day arrived for its release the turtle had gained several pounds which was quite noticeable when we loaded the now healthy turtle into the truck for the trip down to the river. An entourage of media folks followed the turtle to its release point on the bank of the San Gabriel River under the 2nd Street bridge; just down river of the prime sea turtle area near the warm water outflows of the power plants along the river. As Dr. Adams gently lowered the turtle into the river, it took a mighty swipe with its front flipper and proceeded to splash my face with what felt like a gallon of water. I guess it just wanted to leave me something to remember it by.

You can bet that I’ll be looking for this turtle in the coming weeks when my wife and I do our sea turtle surveys along the banks of the San Gabriel River.

Notes From The River:

A pair of male sea lions have been swimming several miles up the river to forage this month. When I did one of my Sunday walks along the river to look for green sea turtles I spotted two sea lions feeding under a freeway on-ramp three miles upriver. Later one of these sea lions was seen near where the 405 Freeway passes over the river.

Some of the birds sighted this October along the banks of the San Gabriel River included Belted Kingfishers, Pacific Loons, Pigeon chasing Coopers hawks and dive feeding Brown Pelicans and Ospreys.

Endangered Sea Turtle Released Back Into The Wild
The Green Sea Turtle sported sea grass and a barnacle on its back when it first arrived at the Aquarium.  | Hugh Ryono
Endangered Sea Turtle Released Back Into The Wild
Dr. Adams, vet tech Colleen and I prepare to release the green sea turtle into the San Gabriel River.  | Andrew Reitsma
Endangered Sea Turtle Released Back Into The Wild
Moments after this image was shot, the turtle's flipper send a large volume of water right at my face.  | Andrew Reitsma
Endangered Sea Turtle Released Back Into The Wild
Me with the sea turtle. That's a wrench in my hand that I used to prepare the turtle's rehabilitation pool.  | Linda de Ambrosio

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Michelle

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:13 AM

What an amazing story.

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Hugh

Sunday, November 30, 2008 03:40 PM

Hi Michelle,

Just an update. We recently spotted this sea turtle out in the San Gabriel River a couple of days ago. It seems to be doing well back in the wild.

Hugh

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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