A rehabilitated green sea turtle will be released by the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher on Thursday, July 18 at 10 a.m. on the beach at the Fort Fisher Recreation Area. The release will take place near the pedestrian access area.
Park Ranger Katherine Womble found the unresponsive sea turtle stranded on May 7, 2013. After an initial assessment by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Sea Turtle Program Assistant, the sea turtle was delivered to the Aquarium for temporary care pending room at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
The animal immediately began receiving medical treatment for dehydration, vitamin deficiencies and infection. Its condition was so grave the animal could not initially be kept in water due to concerns of drowning, as it could not lift its head. Medical therapies, tube feedings and continual care by Aquarium staff and the veterinarian team from North Carolina State University led to improvements. As the animal’s movements became stable staff began applying medication to its shell which suffered from ulcers and erosion. Releasing the animal became a prospect as improvements continued. Veterinarians declared the animal healthy for release after completing a thorough examination and blood work this week.
“This animal surprised us,” said Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger. “Its prognosis was very poor for several weeks. Our staff delivered the best care possible and we are thrilled to be returning a healthy animal back to its natural habitat.”
Green sea turtles are threatened in North Carolina and endangered in other areas of the United States.
The sea turtle will receive the name of Womble for its release and will be assisted with its return to the ocean by Aquarium staff who cared for the animal.