Meeting Our New Loggerhead Sea Turtle

In early January 2015, visitors to Birch Aquarium will be able to see a rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle that was recently transported to San Diego from South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, South Carolina. To learn more about the history of the turtle and find out how you can help support its ongoing care, visit the aquarium’s website. We will periodically blog updates on the turtle’s story, from its arrival in San Diego to exhibit preparations in the Hall of Fishes and the turtle’s behind-the-scenes care.

Birch Aquarium aquarists Kylie Washer and Fernando Nosratpour went to Charleston to meet with the team and turtle at South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

In order to ensure a smooth transition to its (we won’t know if the turtle is male or female for a few years) new home, the experts in South Carolina showed Kylie and Fernando how they have been caring for the turtle. Here they are with Sea Turtle Rescue program manager Kelly Thorvalson learning about the turtle’s history and behavior.

Birch Aquarium aquarist Kylie Washer and South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue program manager Kelly Thorvalson

Birch Aquarium aquarist Kylie Washer and South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue program manager Kelly Thorvalson

The staff at South Carolina Aquarium worked with the turtle to help it know when to go to the side of the tank for feeding. Due to competition from the other animals in the tank, and its rear flipper paralysis, the turtle will be able to eat more easily when it is guided to the side of tank. This training will also help staff move the turtle for routine physical examinations.

In addition to learning the turtle’s routine, habits, and health history, Fernando and Kylie took time to observe and introduce themselves to the newest member of the Birch Aquarium animal community.

Kylie says hello!

They also had the opportunity to meet some of the other animals currently being treated at the Rescue Program. They even assisted with collecting a blood sample from a Green Sea Turtle that was recently stranded in South Carolina.

Fernando assisting with collecting a blood sample from a Green Sea Turtle

Birch Aquarium is grateful to the staff at South Carolina Aquarium for rehabilitating the turtle and showing it so much care during the time it was at the Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The team even wrote “good luck” notes on the outside of the crate to wish her well on the next phase of her journey—the trip across the country to Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Staff at South Carolina Aquarium sending well wishes off with the turtle!

 

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  • Tanya Robinson
    November 24, 2014 at 5:50 am

    My students are aware of the diminishing number of female sea turtles in our waters. They have created a mural for a national contest sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, to increase everyone’s awareness of the sea turtles’ endangered status. We are delighted to hear of your facility’s (right here in our own backyard) involvement in helping protect this beautiful creature. Thank you.

    Tanya robinson
    art teacher at Del Mar Pines School

  • Matt c
    December 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I had the great pleasure of helping to image this gentle turtle. Such a wonderful feeling to be apart of a group helping to make a difference. Such nice caring people from the aquarium. I hope to help more in the future.

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego