Gulf Oil Spill Turtle Rescue Report - June 3 AM

Yesterday (6/2) there were no new turtles admitted. The search boats were unable to go out due to severe weather. We spent the day treating the turtles that have been admitted over the past few days.

This tiny Kemp's ridley is among the turtles being treated.
Read Dr. Innis first report from the Gulf in this previous blog post

Most are doing well, many are eating already. Since no new turtles came in, we used some time to surgically repair an injury on the flipper of one of the oiled turtles. The injury looked to be 1-2 weeks old, and nearly resulted in amputation of the hind foot at the ankle joint. Dr. Field and I anesthetized the turtle, cleaned the wound, created some healthy tissue margins, and then placed a series of stitches to re-attach the foot. So far so good......

I spoke by phone yesterday to our colleague Dr. Stacy, who has been out on the search boats this week. He described that it's very hard to locate the turtles within the oil. They are looking for rounded mounds on the surface of the oil, which usually means that there is a turtle floating under the surface of the oil. They scoop under the mounds, and recover the turtles, which he descibed as looking like they had been dunked in a vat of chocolate syrup. When they are first retrieved they are so covered in oil that the biologists initially can't tell what species it is. In light of this, turtles are being cleaned immediately while on the search boats. We then do a second and third cleaning after they arrive at the rehab center. There is oil in their mouth, eyes, throat...

- Dr. Innis


  1. Amazing description... so sad.
    Thank you for letting people know what is happening down there.

  2. I am grateful there are people helping - people that care. Thank you all tremendously for your work, efforts, hearts, time and talents. It does provide some level of comfort. However, this is so heart wrenching and disturbing - such a pathetic visual. It must be excruciating in person. Sadly I protest this never had to happen. Alternatives have been long since discovered - yet ignored. It is more than time to get off oil and implement green resources so that we may prevent this from EVER happening again. What is it going to wake up to this inevitable obvious conclusion??? Is this what it takes? Is this even enough?! ???... I sincerely hope so