A Turtle Tale

flipper amputation

Meet Peregrine, Turtle #60There’s still time left to help!

2014 has been a historic year for sea turtle strandings on Cape Cod, with an unprecedented number of animals coming ashore. Most have been Kemp’s ridleys – the most endangered sea turtle in the world.

Meet Peregrine, sea turtle #60. This juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was brought to the National Marine Life Center on November 21, after stranding several days earlier in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He was suffering from “cold stunning”, a severe form of hypothermia that affects these cold-blooded reptiles when they get stuck inside Cape Cod Bay and can’t migrate south for the winter. In addition to being cold stunned, Peregrine was malnourished and dehydrated.

Closeup of Peregrine's flipper injuryBut these weren’t the only problem for Peregrine. When he arrived at NMLC, 1/3 of his right front flipper was shredded and hanging by a bone. Left untreated, this could develop into serious infection and death.

Peregrine was a very sick turtle, and it was up to us to help him.

Initially we administered fluids and antibiotics to rehydrate Peregrine and help him fight any infections resulting from being hypothermic. We placed him in a rehabilitation pool carefully controlled to maintain the 75 degree temperature optimal for healing. We offered him food, but he had no interest. Every day, though, we continued to try.

Gradually, Peregrine got stronger. He swam better. He began eating cut up fish and squid. It was time to address his flipper injury.

Dr. Williams performs a partial flipper amputation.With no way to repair the tissue, partial amputation was the only course of action. NMLC Veterinarian Dr. Williams performed the procedure, which went very well.

Now, even with only 2/3 of a flipper, Peregrine swims vigorously. His injury is healing well. He is our best eater! With continued improvement, we anticipate Peregrine will make a full recovery over the next several months so he can be released back into the wild next spring or summer. Stay tuned!

Peregrine’s recovery is only possible with your support. Your tax deductible year end donation will help send Peregrine – and other turtles like him – back home to the wild where they belong.

Peregrine is making progress, but he still has a long road to recovery. Please consider a tax deductible year end donation to give him and his tank mates a fighting chance to survive.

On behalf of Peregrine – and the other turtles in our care – thank you.Peregrine's flipper is healing well!