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Aquarium Rehabilitates Endangered Green Sea Turtle

The Aquarium worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service and released the turtle back into the wild on May 11, 2012.

May 11, 2012

The Aquarium provided care for a green sea turtle that was found last month inside Shoreline Marina in Long Beach, California. As an institution permitted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to rehabilitate these animals, the Aquarium was selected to provide veterinary care and housing for the turtle.

“It is extremely rewarding to be able to help this amazing animal. All sea turtles are either threatened or endangered so it is very important that we do everything we can to help them,” said Dr. Lance Adams, veterinarian at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The sea turtle arrived at the Aquarium on April 19. As part of its assessment, the turtle received a physical exam, blood test, and radiographs. Aquarium veterinary staff members also monitored its feeding and behavior. “We are happy to report that the sea turtle is eating well, swimming normally, and appears to be thriving,” Dr. Adams said. With the NMFS, the Aquarium determined that the sea turtle was ready to be released back into the wild on May 11.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is endangered because of the major threats of habitat loss and degradation, harvesting of turtle eggs and turtles for food, and accidental mortality as bycatch from commercial and recreational fishing.

Additionally, sea turtles sometimes mistake plastic bags drifting in the ocean for sea jellies and eat them, which can be fatal. People can help sea turtles by picking up trash in the streets and on beaches and by choosing sustainable seafood.