GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Marine mammals have been dealing with dangerous conditions from freshwater intrusion coming out of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Two Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and one loggerhead turtle are now under the care of veterinarians at the Institute for Marine Mammal Sciences.
The loggerhead weighs about 60 pounds so scientists struggled to get it into the boat. Eventually, they were able to safely get the turtle back to IMMS, where it was placed immediately in the veterinary hospital’s quarantine area.
The loggerhead turtle was found by a fisherman out near Horn Island who noticed that the turtle was unable to dive. They called the IMMS stranded animal hotline to report it.
The loggerhead weighs about 60 pounds so scientists struggled to get it into the boat. E, they were able to safely get the turtle back to IMMS, where it was placed immediately in the veterinary hospital’s quarantine area.
“Once she got here, we did x-rays and our veterinarian Dr. Moore assessed her and found she had pneumonia and a problem with her tissue up near her neck,” said Mystera M. Samuelson with IMMS. “We’re treating that as well as other issues.”
Meanwhile, two Kemp Ridley turtles rescued from the wild also remain at IMMS. Marine biologists are still trying to determine if the turtles have been affected by the high levels of freshwater in the Mississippi Sound caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
If you find a stranded or injured dolphin or sea turtle on the beach, call for help immediately. Do not touch the animal without direction from IMMS or another governing agency such as NOAA or MDMR. You can contact the IMMS Stranded Dolphin line by calling 888-SOS-DOLPHIN (888-767-3657).
The Army Corps of Engineers began closing the spillway on Monday but many questions remain as to whether there will be long-term effects to marine life after the influx of freshwater this summer. WLOX is still in the process of trying to get those answers and will continue to report new information as it becomes available.