Battered young female loggerhead rescued in San Pedro

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

A young adult female loggerhead sea turtle was rescued off the coast of San Pedro Town after it was sighted in distress by some children. The turtle measuring, 63 centimeters long and weighing approximately 80 pounds was rescued on April 10th. The badly battered turtle’s rescue is significant, as the number of turtles in the region, including Belize, is steadily dwindling. The decrease in the number of turtles is widely contributed due to the high demand for the carcass and eggs in the local traditional markets. In Belize, turtle meat is considered a delicacy and it appears that if the loggerhead was not rescued it may well have ended up in the illegal local market.

According to Kirah Forman, Biologist at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, they received a call last week from personnel at Victoria House Resort that there was a stranded turtle along the beach. The turtle was found by some kids who were swimming in the area who quickly went to look for help at the resort. “They noticed that the turtle was tied up so they called us. It appears that someone had caught and tied the turtle up. Each of her flippers were tied and attach to the middle and it seems that she was tied up for a long time because the rope had already cut into the flesh all the way into the bone,” said Foreman. According to Foreman, it appears that while the turtle was tied up she was attacked by a shark and as a result of the shark attack had lost its left hind flipper. Since being recovered from the sea, the turtle has been receiving treatment and is in the healing process at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve headquarters in San Pedro Town.

All the injuries on the turtle are showing signs of healing and the prognosis is for the turtle to be fully healed in few months. Because the adult turtle has lost one of her fins, she has a reduced chance of surviving in the open sea. “She can’t be as fast as she was before, especially not having one of her back flippers. There are a lot of turtles in the open sea that have a part or a complete flipper off and they are surviving so we hope that this will be the case with the turtle,” said Foreman.

Thanks to the generous support of SAGA, the turtle is being cared for and is in the healing process, receiving adequate and frequent doses of antibiotics to prevent infection. Once completely healed, she will be transported to an enclosure at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve for an adequate amount of time so that she gradually adapts to a new life before being released into the open sea.

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