Please select your home edition
Edition
Grapefruit 2018 728x90

Conservation partners rescue rare sea turtle

by NOAA Fisheries 4 Nov 2018 12:24 UTC
Hawksbill turtle, numbered E2, ready for release © NOAA Fisheries

Hawksbill turtles are the rarest and most endangered sea turtle species in the Pacific Ocean. In Hawaii, we have a very small population that continues to struggle for survival. So it was an all-hands-on-deck response in July 2018, when a young, and very sick hawksbill stranded in Kailua on the island of O'ahu.

Conservation partners stepped up to help. Kailua residents recognized that something seemed odd about the little turtle, so they called NOAA's marine animal stranding hotline and Hawai?i Marine Animal Response (HMAR), a non-profit organization and NOAA grantee, mounted a quick response. The turtle was brought to NOAA's Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island where vets examined and concluded that the animal was severely emaciated and was suffering from an acute respiratory infection.

To help save this turtle, the VCA Family Animal Hospital performed necessary CT Scans and other critical diagnostic and lab work. Dolphin Quest Kahala provided high calorie food to fuel the healing process, and antibiotic treatments and care were administered by trained NOAA staff who dedicated almost four months of time to rehabilitation.

"This was not an easy case," said Dr. Gregg Levine, DVM. "We've never seen an infection like this before in a hawksbill turtle. Thankfully we were able to consult with VCA experts and a radiology team to determine the best course of treatment."

The young hawksbill responded well to rehabilitation efforts and was released on October 18, 2018, in Kailua, near the beach where it originally stranded surrounded by the conservation partners, including the public, that helped make this day a reality.

According to Irene Kelly, NOAA Pacific Islands Region's sea turtle recovery coordinator, "The number E2 has been etched on its shell so we can more easily keep track of it. We encourage the public to report if they see this, or any hawksbill, in Hawai?i." The best way to identify a hawksbill turtle is to look for their pointy hawk-like beak, with 4 scales between their eyes (green sea turtles have only 2 scales). But if in doubt, report any turtle with a number.

In Hawai?i, hawksbills, sometimes referred to by their Hawaiian name, honu ea, do not seem to have not responded as positively to conservation efforts as have green sea turtles (honu). The big question is why? NOAA researchers are working hard to answer this question.

Kelly reminds us, "With such a small local population, every hawksbill is extremely valuable. We appreciate everyone's participation in this successful hawksbill rehabilitation effort."

You can help support hawksbill conservation by calling NOAA's Marine Animal Response Hotline: 1-888-256-4890, anytime you see a hawksbill turtle. The hotline is also for reporting any species of sick, injured, or dead sea turtle and any other marine wildlife emergency. Photos can be sent to: RespectWildlife@noaa.gov.

Related Articles

Ten ways we can help monk seals
Veterinarian & field teams work to rescue seal pups, treat injuries, and sometimes even remove eels! Hawaiian monk seals often find themselves in difficult situations, and our staff works hard to prevent and reduce threats to this highly-endangered species. Posted on 17 Dec 2018
How NOAA supports post-storm coral restoration
The future of coral reefs looks bleaker than ever before With rising temperatures comes an increase in mass coral bleaching events, infectious disease outbreaks, and the process known as ocean acidification. Posted on 16 Dec 2018
Learn about deep sea corals through story maps
Visit a series of story maps exploring deep-sea coral Most people are surprised to learn that deep-sea corals exist at all, let alone that they live in waters of every region of the United States. Deep-sea corals appear in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and depth ranges. Posted on 14 Dec 2018
Watch out for whales around Cape Cod
New voluntary vessel speed restriction zone established around Cape Cod Bay to protect right whales A voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) has been established around Cape Cod Bay to protect an aggregation of six right whales sighted in this area. Posted on 13 Dec 2018
Large Whale Entanglements National Report
A national report on large whale entanglements confirmed in the United States in 2017 A national report on large whale entanglements confirmed in the United States in 2017. Seventy-Six large whale entanglements were confirmed nationally in 2017, slightly above the annual average. Posted on 10 Dec 2018
Wrapping up marine debris mission at Midway
Our team of five cleans up more than 25,000 pounds of debris in 10 days on Midway Atoll The five of us had amazing weather for the rest of the mission—little to no rain or wind, which meant it was hot while we cleaned up the beaches. Luckily for us, the calm and cool waters were always welcoming Posted on 2 Dec 2018
NOAA Fisheries investigating sea lion deaths
Apparent shooting of several California sea lions in the area of West Seattle NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the apparent shooting of several California sea lions in the area of West Seattle since October, and reiterates that sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Posted on 1 Dec 2018
Thanksgiving whale rescue near Prince of Wales
NOAA says actions resulted in a safe, deliberate assessment and rescue of entangled humpback whale. Members of NOAA's North Pacific Large Whale Entanglement Response Team are thankful for Wednesday's freeing of an entangled humpback whale in Sarkar Cove, north of Naukati on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Posted on 30 Nov 2018
Watch out for whales south of Nantucket
rmExtended voluntary vessel speed restriction zone established south of Nantucket to protect whales A voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) has been established 21 nautical miles south of Nantucket, MA to protect an aggregation of 17 right whales sighted in this area on November 26, 2018. Posted on 29 Nov 2018
New national climate assessment report released
Report highlights impacts, risks and adaptations to climate change A new federal report finds that climate change is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories. Posted on 29 Nov 2018
Marine Resources BOTTOMZhik 2018 Yacht 728x90 BOTTOM