12 Oct 2020 08:19:32
Year of the Loggerheads?
Kelly Tarlton's is home to New Zealand's only Turtle Hospital - currently, we are caring for 5 sea turtles representing 3 of the 7 species.
2020 seems to have been the year of the loggerheads, with 3 of our patients being of this species. Since the beginning of the Turtle Hospital in the mid-nineties, we have recorded only 5 loggerhead turtles as having entered our facility. Those that we have now are numbers 3,4 and 5 - we have had more loggerheads in our care this year alone than in the past two decades.
Not only do we have 3 loggerheads in our care, but they all represent different life stages - a sub-adult, a juvenile and a hatchling. To give you an idea of the size difference, Abbey (the sub-adult) has a shell size of 62cm while Puck (the hatchling) measures a tiny 12.5cm along the length of its shell.
What's happening to these lovely loggerheads? Abbey's ailment was an obvious one, she came to us with a large wound on one of her flippers. Unfortunately, the bone became infected and the flipper had to be amputated to stop the infection from spreading. Abbey is currently recovering in Turtle Bay and, pending veterinary checks, will be released back to the wild despite her missing flipper.
Kibou, the juvenile loggerhead, was found washed up on Muriwai Beach with a bad lung infection. Luckily, with the help of the Department of Conservation and Auckland Zoo, we have been able to clear up this infection and Kibou is also enjoying some well deserved R&R in Turtle Bay.
The smallest of our loggerheads, Puck, is still in the quarantine area of our Turtle Hospital. Puck was found on Ninety Mile Beach, dehydrated and covered in barnacles. Although now rehydrated and cleaned-up, Puck is far too small to go into Turtle Bay and will spend some extra time in our back-of-house area growing bigger and stronger.
Our turtle care team are working hard to rehabilitate these loggerheads, as well as the other Turtle Hospital residents (a black sea turtle and a green sea turtle) - follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@sealifekellytarltons) for more Turtle Hospital updates!