After Eight Months Sea Turtle Is Ready To Go Back Into The Ocean
Mass Audubon is a big organization operating in Massachusetts. Their aim is to keep the connection between people and the nature by organizing a number of events such as hiking, boating, and so on. With their dozens of wildlife sanctuaries, they have a mission to protect the wildlife, and give people of Massachusetts a chance to explore the nature of their state without having to travel far from home.Back Into The Ocean
The Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, on the other hand, works with rescued wild animals. They make sure to do their best for their animals to reenter the wild. They cooperate with the New England Aquarium, where they organize the rehabilitation process of the sea turtle.
Munchkin was one of the giant sea turtles that the sanctuary found on the beach. When they saw her near the ocean, the first thing they thought was that it was a rock. It was because of the poor condition of the turtle’s shell and skin. Neither of them was the color they should have been. Also, from the looks of the turtle it was clear that she had some parasite infection.
After transporting Munchkin to the New England Aquarium, the staff observed Munchkin’s condition. They figured that the turtle weighted only three hundred pounds, which meant she was underweight. Now, the sanctuary had a plan to provide Munchkin with all the nutrition and medication she needed so she could gain weight, get the right color of skin, and get rid of those parasites.
But first of all, Munchkin was very much in need of rest. She went through a lot even before appearing in the sanctuary. She must have put a lot of hard work to try to survive in such a condition. And in the sanctuary, she needed to patiently wait till all the procedures were over. So the staff placed her in a glass aquarium. They expected her to dive into the bottom of the aquarium, and relax. And that was what happened.
As months passed, Munching showed a lot of signs of improvement. All of them were result of the dedicated workers of the sanctuary. They kept a good eye on which specific aquarium the turtle was using, whether the width, the depth, and the water temperature were suitable for her. Munchkin had a diet specified by professionals. And her hygiene was maintained by the the sanctuary staff, who gave her a shower on daily basis.
Munchkin’s improvement was already obvious after four months. Seeing Munchkin’s pictures when she first arrived, the staff could hardly believe it was the same turtle. Her skin color changed completely. Now, her shell was a beautiful chestnut color. The staff says that this is exactly what they want to see on any turtle. The antibiotics seemed to help as well, as she no longer suffered from parasites. She also had gained thirty pounds since she arrived. This was very good news for everyone in the sanctuary.
In addition to the improvements of Munchkin’s physical health, her personality chained a lot as well. When she first came, she lacked energy. She was very different from all the other turtles in the sanctuary, as she was never in the mood to have a little bit of fun. She was like an old lade.
But now, only four months of rehabilitation, she has the energy, excitement, and the enthusiasm of a little kid. She became so full of life. She wanted to twirl around the water all day long, and explore the area. Munchkin also started to bond with the staff members. She recognized the ones who spent much time with her. And she showed her excitement every time she saw one of them. Munchkin liked to invite them to play in the water, as she just liked being around them.
It was already clear that Munchkin had all the potential of the successful release into the ocean. But the ocean is far different from the aquariums that Munchkins had been living in for months now. As the problem of Munchkin’s wellbeing was already solved. Now, the sanctuary had to step into the second part of their work – getting Munchkin ready to walk into the ocean.
For another three to four months, Munchkin had to swim in all kinds of aquarium. She needed to try out the larger ones, to somehow get the feeling of being on the open ocean. Of course, no aquarium assimilates it well enough. But Munchkin had an advantage too. She used to live in the Atlantic Ocean just a few months ago. So, unlike other sea turtle, she should have remembered it quite well, and probably had a good idea of what was waiting for her in the wild. Munchkin then learnt to walk into the water by herself. This way, she could understand better when she is actually ready to do that.
When it had already been eight months since Munchkin appeared in the sanctuary, she was already more than ready to leave it. Everyone in the sanctuary got to become so attached to the turtle. They saw her transform from an old lady to the most energetic sea turtle. They definitely are going to miss her a lot. And some of them even teared up when it was the time to say goodbye.
The sanctuary wanted to make the return of Munchkin into the ocean into a very special and memorable event. They gathered all the workers of the Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, and all the other people who just wished to witness the event by the beach. They placed Munchkin on the sand, about ten meters far from the waves. Then, everyone started to cheer and applause, and encourage Munchkin to walk into the water.
Munchkin did not hesitate. She probably had missed her natural home as well. She was going forward so confidently. When she reached the waves, she stopped for a moment. She started to look around at the land, and at the all the people who had gathered to cheer for her. It was probably the most heartbreaking scene to witness.
After giving her new friends the last look, Munchkin dived right into the ocean. People could see her for a while, making her way through the water. Then, she disappeared in the waves. The sanctuary, however, made sure they could track the turtle no matter how far she went. For that, they had attached an equipment on Munchkin’s shell, that would send signals, and tell where she is. The equipment is very small and light compared to the turtle’s weight, so she probably will never even realize there is something on her back.
Several months after letting Munchkin go, the sanctuary is still tracking her. They can see that Munchkin has swum all the way from the Massachusetts coast to the southern costs of the United States. She liked to stay relatively close to the shore. But the fact that she has traveled so far is a sign that Munchkin is doing great.
Since Munchkin has left, there are only three other sea turtles left in the sanctuary. This is wonderful news, as it means that all the other turtles are already back in the ocean. Mass Audubon hopes that they will continue rescuing sea turtles, and helping them live a better life.