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Injured sea turtle relocated to Virginia with help from Delaware volunteers

MERR intern Casey Marker holds the turtle.


A juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was found near Brigantine, New Jersey and brought to rehabilitation with the help of Delaware's Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute earlier this week.



The turtle, about 3 pounds, suffered an injury to its head, likely caused by a blow from a boat or boat propeller, said Suzanne Thurman, the executive director of MERR.


"You can see the wound across the head and with that kind of an impact, even though the skull isn’t fractured, it’s only reasonable that there would be some kind of neurological trauma," Thurman said.



MERR volunteers were called to serve as a life support system and helped transport the turtle to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center stranding program.


"From the scientific standpoint and the well-being of the overall species which further ripples out to the overall being of the marine ecosystem, it’s very important we do everything we can to help these animals in every way possible so they can continue to be a species amidst the overall marine ecosystem," Thurman said.

The turtle, named "Bison," appears to be doing well and is adjusting to its new surroundings in the Virginia stranding program, said Alexander Costidis, the stranding response coordinator.

"Bison appears stable and does not currently require extensive care," Costidis said. "We hope he/she continues to make progress in that direction and currently have no reason to believe otherwise."

Bison's care consists of feedings, medications and wound treatments, Costidis said. The hope is to help stimulate healing and avoid any opportunistic infections.

"We are optimistic about Bison's future and hope that with continued care he/she will continue to grow and flourish," Costidis said. "We look forward to the day we can let Bison swim off into the big blue."

The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is one of four turtle species found in Delaware and the most endangered of them all.


If you notice a stranded marine animal, contact MERR's 24-hour hotline: 302-228-5029.