Endangered Sea Turtles Found Off Assateague Island; Being Cared For In Fells Point
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A rare discovery on Assateague Island has a team of scientists working to save dozens of animals.
Jessica Kartalija reports–a nest of sea turtles now has a temporary home in Fells Point.
Inside a giant warehouse in Fells Point, sharks do laps in a giant tank, while in the next room, a little loggerhead turtle works on staying afloat. He or she was discovered on Assateague Island with 160 of its siblings–who have yet to hatch.
“It was very good timing when we got into the nest and discovered there were hatchlings and that some of the eggs may potentially still be viable,” said Jen Dittmar, Stranding coordinator.
Aquarium team members are now observing those eggs in a temperature-controlled room.
“It needs to be moist. It needs heat and it basically just needs time,” she said.
There’s no telling when they may hatch, if at all, but they’re thinking positively.
“The population of loggerhead turtles in our area is considered endangered, so it’s considered an opportunity to get more loggerhead turtles back into the natural environment,” said Dittmar.
Just to give you a little perspective–on Assateague Island over the past ten years, there have only been two or three loggerhead turtle nests. And none of the turtles have hatched.
“They realized that something groundbreaking had happened and they actually had a viable nest that they didn’t have before,” she said.
As for the turtle, it seems pretty content, but still requires antibiotics–and a lifeguard.
“We slowly started working him into the water and doing supervised swim times just this week,” said Dittmar.
Once the turtle and its siblings are strong and healthy enough, they’ll be taken to North Carolina–where they’ll be released into warmer water.
The Marine Animal Rescue Program has rehabilitated and released more than a hundred animals back to their natural environment.