Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two young sea turtles treated for oil contamination


Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010

Posted on Tue, Jun. 08, 2010

Two young sea turtles treated for oil contamination



GULFPORT — Two young sea turtles pulled from Alabama waters, covered with oil, have been cleaned and were recovering in Gulfport on Tuesday.

The yearling sea turtles, each about six inches long, were found last week when that state was wrestling with oil threatening its shorelines.

They are the first sea turtles treated in Mississippi that are confirmed victims of oil contamination.

The little Loggerhead was pulled from Perdido Bay on Thursday and the Hawksbill from Gulf Shores, Ala., on Saturday.

They also had oil in their mouths, so experts are watching them eat and treating them for possible ingestion of oil, said Meghan Broadway, spokeswoman for the Institute for Marine Mammals Studies. The institute’s sea turtle rehabilitation program is the nearest one to Alabama, Broadway said.

Workers washed the oil off both turtles. On Tuesday the Loggerhead was eating, was active and was considered in good condition; the Hawksbill was active, but still not eating. It is considered in guarded condition.

The young turtles are in little pools, where they can be monitored.

Broadway said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials brought them to Gulfport.

Also this week five of the Kemp’s Ridley turtles the institute has been treating since the BP spill began in late April were released in Florida. Broadway said those endangered sea turtles were not believed to have been oiled. They are among 14 the institute has treated since late April, an unusually high number for this time of the year, she said.

Delphine Vanderpool, an expert at the institute, said the two new turtles have mesmerized the staff.

“They’re very cute,” Vanderpool said, and considerably smaller than what the institute is used to. It usually deals with Kemp’s Ridleys, which are two to three times larger.


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