Turtle found covered in crude oil is on the road to recovery
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
The juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) that was found by a group of divers on Tuesday July 24th along the channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve covered in crude oil is on the road to full recovery. The good news was announced by Hol Chan Marine Reserve on their social media webpage. The announcement is welcome news considering the fact that scientists have been indicating that the turtle population in the area has long been dwindling.
“The turtle is doing well and its health condition is improving,” confirmed Biologist Kira Foreman of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. As readers may recall, the green turtle with carapace/back measuring 11 inches long and suspected to be between two to three years old, was observed entirely covered with thick black crude oil. The inside of the turtle’s mouth was also filled with oil and biologist had suspected that it had ingested some crude oil. The turtle was observed to be very fatigued and was unable to move the day it was found.
“Turtles that digest oil normally take a very long time to recover and with crude oil it could be even longer,” explained Foreman. However the turtle has been surviving mainly on intravenously administered saline and dextrose solutions, but it is beginning to bite on a few greens. “We are seeing him picking on food and it is becoming a little more active. But until it begins eating well and is completely active, we will wait to release the turtle,” said Foreman.
Foreman, who has been closely monitoring the medical condition of the green sea turtle, said that the excretion of the turtle is showing that it is passing out some crude oil. It was never established how the turtle came in contact with crude but is believed that because of the chemical components of crude oil, the turtle may have come in contact with it not too far away and very recently to the date that it was found. Biologists at Hol Chan suspected that there may have been an oil spill or natural seepage that was not reported. The juvenile turtle, whose sex is unknown at this time due to the size, is the first marine animal to be found at Hol Chan Marine Reserve completely covered with crude oil. It is the hope of Hol Chan Marine Reserve that as soon as the turtle is fully recovered that it will be released back into its natural habitat.
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