Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital
Photo of Padme and Ahsoka before release.
a special message about Mote's hospitals from John Reynolds, Ph.D.,
director of Mote's Center for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research.
On a sunny July morning, two loggerhead sea turtles returned home to Sarasota Bay, splashing into the sea and swimming off to the wild. The turtles, nicknamed Padme and Ahsoka, had been successfully rehabilitated at Mote after arriving in our Florida facilities anemic, malnourished and sluggish - likely suffering from lethargic loggerhead syndrome, an illness of uncertain origin that can immobilize loggerhead sea turtles.
"The turtles that come in with lethargic loggerhead are telling us a story," Mote's veterinarian, Dr. Andy Stamper said. "They're sentinels for their environment, and their health problems could indicate problems in their environment."
Typically, when sea turtles arrive in our hospital, they are extremely ill and suffer a range of afflictions — from ingesting fishing gear or being struck by boats, to having fibropapilloma tumors or lethargic loggerhead syndrome.
Over the years, Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has treated and released more than 100 sea turtles after providing state-of-the-art critical and chronic care for the sick animals. Sea turtles are listed as threatened and endangered and our mission is to rehab these animals and return them to the wild. We seek to expand our knowledge of the care and treatment of these species and to better understand the threats and illnesses they face in the wild in order to support sea turtle conservation.
For animals that are released, Mote makes every effort to do follow up monitoring to determine the success of the release and add to the basic understanding of the short- and long-term movements of these animals. Suffering animals with no hope for survival are humanely euthanized.
Before releasing Padme and Ahsoka, Mote scientists fitted them with identification tags and passive integrated transponder, or PIT, tags. A PIT tag is a microchip inserted under an animal's skin that can be read with an electronic wand. (The same kind of chips used to identify dogs and cats.) In the case of nesting turtles, PIT tags provide information about where and when the animal was tagged so scientists can recognize them when they return to shore.
|Don't hide inside your shell
More sick turtles than ever before are being brought to Mote for treatment. We can't ignore that. Nor can we ignore the fact that we desperately need your financial support to help them.
Please donate today.
Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.