I arrived in New Orleans yesterday. Today I began working with the team of biologists and veterinarians from Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and was introduced to four turtles that have been recovered from the oil spill. There are three Kemp's ridley sea turtles (including the smallest one that I have ever seen, see photo), and one loggerhead turtle (photo).
These four turtles were heavily covered in oil, but have been bathed twice, and are doing quite well. One of the turtles was just admitted two nights ago, and it had its second bath today. There is a series of pools and tubes that are used for the bathing process, and for holding the cleaned turtles. The large red dumpster-looking photo is the tank into which oiled bath water is being pumped after the turtles are bathed. The water will be later disposed of safely.
The turtles are all being treated with fluids and electrolytes, antibiotics, and a product called "Toxiban" which helps to prevent the toxic oil from being absorbed from their digestive system. They are all eating, which is a sign that they are feeling pretty well.
We got word that there will be more oiled turtles arriving tonight. There has been a team of biologists and veterinarians searching for turtles at sea today, and they will be sending those turtles to us tonight. The search efforts will be continuing throughout the week.
- Dr. Innis