Sea turtle rehabilitation success increases with body size and differs among species

  • Published source details Baker L., Edwards W. & Pike D.A. (2015) Sea turtle rehabilitation success increases with body size and differs among species. Endangered Species Research, 29, 13-21.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rehabilitate and release injured or accidentally caught individuals: Sea turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Rehabilitate and release injured or accidentally caught individuals: Sea turtles

    A study in 1986–2004 along the coast in Florida, USA (Baker et al. 2015) found that of sea turtles found live-stranded and taken for rehabilitation, just over one third survived and were released back into the wild, and more time in rehabilitation improved the chances of turtles surviving to be released. In total, 626 (37%) sea turtles survived rehabilitation and were released back into the wild, 1,047 (62%) died in rehabilitation and 27 (2%) survived but were kept in captivity. More time spent in rehabilitation increased the likelihood of turtles surviving and being released (data presented as statistical model outputs). Most deaths occurred within a few weeks of rehabilitation and successful rehabilitation took from several months to >3 years. Loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta were most likely to survive rehabilitation, followed by kemp’s ridley turtles Lepidochelys kempii, and green turtles Chelonia mydas had the lowest chance of survival (data presented as statistical model outputs). In 1986–2004, a total of 2,462 live-stranded sea turtles were taken into rehabilitation, of which 1,700 individuals had known outcomes and statistical modelling could be carried out using data from 392 individuals. Rehabilitated species included green, loggerhead, kemp’s ridley, hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata, leatherback Dermochelys coriacea and olive ridley Lepidochelys olivacea sea turtles. Turtles were all found live-stranded along the Florida coast.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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