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Sea Turtle Rescue
Oiled Sea Turtles
The Aquarium has become a temporary home to four endangered sea turtles rescued from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. These Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are continuing their rehabilitation on exhibit to teach visitors about this rare species. They are also living examples of the successful efforts by the Aquarium and the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program to rehabilitate sea turtles.
Look for the turtles in the Mississippi River Gallery on the second floor, and in the Caribbean's Patch Reef exhibit and Flower Garden Banks exhibit. The four turtles were moved to the Aquarium on July 1, 2010 and include turtle LA-15, the first oiled sea turtle from the Gulf of Mexico (pictured above).
Tremé and Margeaux
Audubon cared for two juvenile Green Sea Turtles discovered separately in southeast Louisiana in December 2009. Both animals were found in a state of cold-shock, in which a turtle's system essentially shuts down in response to a frigid environment.
The first turtle, discovered by a fisherman in the Intracoastal Waterway, was less than a year old. Named Tremé for the tremors she exhibited during her recovery (pictured above). The second turtle was Margeaux, so named because of her discovery in "Geaux Pass" by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. She is older than Tremé and her condition was more severe but Audubon staff has nursed her back to health.
Cold-shocked turtles are near-comatose and often mistaken for dead. Margeaux was so listless, for so long, that two inches of algae had accumulated on her shell. The people who found Tremé and Margeaux smartly assessed the situation and brought the turtles to Audubon for treatment, saving their lives. Tremé and Margeaux continued their rehabilitation on exhibit at the Aquarium until they made a full recovery and were released into the wild in November 2010.
Lagniappe with her satellite tracking tag.
Lagniappe is released back into the wild.
Lagniappe, an adult female Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, was found in a borrow pit pond in Southern Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. She is believed to have been trapped in the pond since Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Lagniappe was rescued on March 11, 2009 by the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program along with the valuable help of other partner organizations such as The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
Once rescued from her pit pond, Lagniappe was transported to the Audubon Aquatic Center to assess her medical needs. With a clean bill of health Lagniappe was outfitted with a satellite tag and released 21 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana on October 14, 2009.
Lagniappe's happy ending is also a conservation success because she is an endangered species and also the first rehabilitated turtle to be tagged and monitored since 2005. Countless stranded sea turtles are found along the Louisiana coastline, especially Kemp’s Ridley. By tagging Lagniappe, Audubon hopes to gain valuable data that would enable us to understand more about this endangered sea turtle species.
The Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program is a volunteer organization based out of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The program is committed to the humane care and treatment of injured, ill or out-of-habit marine mammals (such as manatees) and sea turtles.
Track Lagniappe the sea turtle and watch where she goes!Did you know...“lagniappe” is a term commonly used in Louisiana.
It means “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit”.
Watch the release of Lagniappe.