New Orleans Turtle Rescue - A Long, Hot, Productive Day

Hi all,

Just another day at the office - oh wait, I'm in New Orleans working on oiled sea turtles! I think the heat is messing with my brain.

Turtle efforts here are ongoing and continuous. Yesterday was a long hot day but very productive for our turtle rescue efforts. I'm a little behind on my blogs so I'll focus here on the group that came in the other night and then try to catch up later today or tonight.

As I mentioned in my last blog, 4 new turtles came to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (AOA). Three Kemp's ridley and one hawksbill sea turtles came to the facility at about 8:00 PM. The physical exams and bathing for this small group of turtles took a large team of us approximately 2.5 hours to complete.

In the photo below, an oiled Kemp's ridley is photographed as part of the physical exam. Documentation on these animals is important during this event, however I'll note that it is standard procedure at most facilities anyway.

Photo by Susan Poag, The Times-Picayune

This photo shows turtles receiving their first de-oiling bath.

Photos by Susan Poag, The Times-Picayune

In the photos below, Dr. Innis examines a tiny hawksbill sea turtle that came in with the group.

In the photo below, Dr. Innis uses a fetal heart monitor, also known as a doppler, to detect a heart rate in the little hawksbill sea turtle.

Photos by Susan Poag, The Times-Picayune

We completed the physical exams, bathed the turtles administered appropriate meds based on the blood results and then tucked the animals in for the night. From this group I am most worried about the little hawksbill turtle in the photos above. This little animal is on my watch list based on his stress level, behavior and medical condition. I'll keep you posted on his medical progress.

Before I head out the door for another long day of turtle clinics, I'll let you know that on the news this morning they issued a health warning due to the heat. Today is predicted to reach a heat index of 110-115 degrees. Yesterday reached about 105 - apparently that didn't trigger the health warning?? This of course is the perspective of a true Northerner. My most important role here is to work on distressed sea turtles from the oil spill, however I'm also learning a lot about the human body under high demand in extreme heat. I didn't know it was possible to sweat out twice your body weight in a few short hours - who knew?


Note: Connie and Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Charles Innis are working with a team at the Aquarium of the Americas. As Connie explained in this previous post, only volunteers with certain qualifications are being called to help rescue animals affected by the oil spill. People often ask the Rescue Team how they can help in general. Some of those ways can be found in this post and here.

In addition to those options you can show your support for protecting our oceans by claiming a virtual plot of ocean and pledging to live blue on the Aquarium’s Live Blue Initiative: http://www.liveblueinitiative.org/

Thank you for reading and caring about the blue planet!


  1. Dr. Chuck and gang, keep up the good work! We are keeping tabs on your efforts from Ashland Middle School..

    Dr. Vman

  2. Keep up the very worthwhile work, folks.

  3. Hang in there gang, hopefully your updates will open some eyes about the consequences of our energy policies.

  4. Posted you up on Facebook. Thanks for your hard work and dedication.