MERR rescues endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle

Rare in coastal Delaware, adult female is second of species in two weeks
September 16, 2020

Story Location:
MERR Institute
801 Pilottown Road
Lewes  Delaware  19958
United States

For the second time in as many weeks, the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute has rescued an adult female Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

According to a press release Sept. 10, MERR rescued the sea turtle Sept. 9. The turtle had been flailing in the rough surf near the Navy Jetty in Cape Henlopen State Park, and before it crashed into the rocks, a surfer helped it onto shore, said the report.

MERR Executive Director Suzanne Thurman said the turtle, named Silver by staff, appeared to be of good body weight, but had a lot of algae growing on her shell. The turtle had a previous flipper wound that had healed but had no other external indicators of disease or injury, she said.

“She was somewhat active, but her body movement was weak and indicated an underlying condition that will require more in-depth diagnostics to determine the cause,” said Thurman in a prepared statement accompanying the release.

Silver was transported to the Marine Animal Rescue Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore for further assessment and rehabilitation. Last week’s turtle was rescued in Fenwick at Keenwick on the Bay and is continuing its rehabilitation at the National Aquarium.  

According to the report, Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered type and the smallest of the sea turtles found in Delaware. The recent rescue’s shell measured two feet in length, half the size of a loggerhead’s, said the release.

Anyone encountering a marine mammal or sea turtle in Delaware should report it as soon as possible to MERR at its 24-hour hotline, 302-228-5029.

MERR is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles and their habitat. MERR is on call 24/7 to provide response for marine animals that have stranded due to illness, injury or death, wherever they might occur throughout the state of Delaware.

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