The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation had a busy day Sept. 7 in the wake of hurricane Dorian. The resulting northeast winds and wave action caused more animals than usual to wash ashore.
Stranded animals included six loggerhead sea turtles along the Delaware coast, including an enormous loggerhead who stranded alive at Lewes Beach. She was more than 3 feet in length and is estimated to weigh between 350 to 400 pounds.
The turtle was suffering from what appeared to be a pre-existing boat propeller injury located on the section of the shell behind her head. She may have been living with this for quite some time, and was underweight and debilitated.
The turtle was treated initially at the MERR facility and subsequently transported by volunteers to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where she will receive long-term rehabilitation for her condition. Special thanks to the beachgoers and the Lewes Police department for their help during the stranding response.
If anyone sees a marine mammal or sea turtle on Delaware beaches, report it as soon as possible to MERR at the 24 hour hotline: 302-228-5029, or visit www.merrinstitute.org
MERR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles and their habitat. MERR provides stranding response for marine animals that occur throughout the state of Delaware.