Regular readers of our blog will remember that last year, the Seattle Aquarium took in a critically ill olive ridley sea turtle that was found stranded on the Oregon Coast. He quickly became known as “Tucker,” a name that came from the first sign of life he showed after his arrival: tucking his tail under his body.
Tucker spent several months being rehabilitated at the Seattle Aquarium, Washington state’s only sea turtle rehabilitation facility. He even underwent treatment in the hyperbaric chamber at Virginia Mason Hospital before being deemed well enough to travel to SeaWorld San Diego and continue his rehabilitation, along with two other turtles of the same species. Tucker headed to sunny California last May and has been there ever since.
Below is an update from SeaWorld San Diego’s Assistant Fish Curator Mike Price about what Tucker has been up to since he left the Seattle Aquarium.
All three animals—Solstice, Lighting and Tucker—are doing very well. They’ve been in a large pool (90,000 gallons, 12 feet deep) for six weeks and we’ve seen substantial improvement in their ability to not only dive, but to also maintain depth while foraging for food off the bottom. The turtles have also been observed resting for prolonged periods of time on the bottom without assistance to maintain their positions. They’ve even been observed stopping themselves mid-water and holding their position in the water column.
All three appear to be heading in the direction of being candidates to return to the wild in fall of this year. It’s also interesting to note that they still appear to be buoyant at surface, but when maneuvering through the water column, there’s no indication of any hindrance to their buoyancy in either foraging or resting.
We’ll continue to keep all three in the big pool to assist with their rehabilitation toward the goal of successful return to the wild in the fall!
We hope to add a blog post later this year about Tucker’s return to his home in the ocean. Stay tuned!