Veterinarian Dr Brenda Bush praised the annual sea turtle workshop, held at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, 1-4 December, for providing her with knowledge and experience that will prove useful in helping injured turtle.
According to a Government Information Services release, the workshop’s main message was that sea turtles unwittingly act as sentinels for humans, because what affects them – such as toxic waste contamination, red tides, and global warming – eventually will affect all of us, Dr. Bush said.
The two-day session, which focused on the rescue, rehabilitation and treatment of captive sea turtles, brought together vets from around the region.
Presentations of medical and surgical techniques, as well as a hands-on wet lab, gave each participant invaluable experience in marine turtle anaesthesia, sedation, physiology and anatomy.
Knowledge gained from the workshop will be used in the yearly cases of sea turtles injured in the wild. In most local cases the Department of Environment, the National Trust and Dr. Bush collaborate to provide care. The vet also accepts injured sea turtles in her clinic when they have no other refuge, she said.
She advised that local residents often bring in sea turtles that have ingested fish hooks and are showing increased awareness of how to handle the injured. So far this year, five were brought in for treatment; most were saved and returned to the wild, Dr. Bush reported.
Her participation in the workshop was sponsored by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network and co-ordinated through the Department of Environment.