Meet the Turtles: Ari the Kemp's Ridley

Meet Ari our Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtle. Ari - formerly known as Kate - arrived at the New England Aquarium on 9/9/09, after a rehabilitation stint in New Orleans at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (AAOA).

In June of 2007, Kate was found injured (suspected boat strike) on Rutherford Beach, Louisiana, and transferred to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the following day to AAOA.  Her injuries were assessed: fractured skull from eye to eye, left eye with missing tissue around the socket, an exposed salt gland, and a deep 5cm long dorsal scute laceration. In October she was transported to an orthopedic surgeon for an operation using rods and plates to pull the skull and scales up and together, in addition to have the laceration to her shell wired together.  By January of 2008, Kate was swimming and eating on her own!

The damage to her left eye was severe and permanent, and in the end she lost sight in that eye, making it very difficult for her to hunt live crab and capture it. Therefore, it was deemed she was non-releasable due to the fact that she could not fend for herself in the wild.

Word of this sea turtle needing a home made it to Boston, and before long she was on a flight to Logan airport for her introduction into the GOT!  So that's how we came to acquire Kate, whom we renamed Ari which is short for arribada: large-scale nesting of some species of sea turtles including Kemp's ridleys.
"During an arribada, hundreds of thousands of these 2-foot-long turtles (the smallest [sea turtles] in the world) gather off certain beaches, and over several days, come ashore to dig holes in the sand and lay eggs." — Susan Scott, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 28 Sept. 2009
Come see her swimming around the Giant Ocean Tank... if she's not napping of course ;-)

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are the smallest and most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. They are also the species of sea turtle our marine animal Rescue and Rehabilitation team treats most frequently during cold-stun stranding season. That's why it's great to be able to show visitors what this species looks like! They are much more petite than the other species on exhibit—loggerhead and green sea turtles. And Ari definitely has a personality.

Come meet Ari and learn what it takes to rescue sea turtles during our Turtle Rescue Team program this summer!


Facebook Comments


Post a Comment

Comments left in this section do not represent the views of the New England Aquarium. Due to the large volume of questions received, staff cannot respond to individual comments but will consider them when planning future blog posts.