On Friday, a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was brought into Diergaarde Blijdorp. The animal was found by fishermen in their nets off the Dutch coast, near Walcheren (Wielingen North). She was named 'Boeier' after the ship they were sailing on.
The Marine Animal Rescue Team contacted Blijdorp to accommodate the animal. The sea turtle was significantly off course, as this species is only found in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Young animals can sometimes get lost and wash up hypothermic. Blijdorp is the only facility in the Netherlands with a permit to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sea turtles and has extensive expertise in caring for turtles.
Boeier has been taken in behind the scenes in a special marine quarantine at the Oceanium and examined by the veterinarian. Her condition seems stable, even though her shell is somewhat damaged. She is alert and swimming actively. Her age is estimated at two to three years. She can recuperate here, and if all goes well, she can be released next year near Florida. She will remain behind the scenes for now, but hopefully, in a few weeks, she can be transferred to the mangrove section of the Oceanium.
The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is a critically endangered species. It is the smallest sea turtle. An adult animal has a shell length of 65-75 cm and weighs up to 40 kg. It is one of the most threatened species.