Three-Year-Old Boy Rescues Endangered Sea Turtle

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Teague Whalley, Kemp’s Ridley and Don Lewis

Three-year-old hero Teague Whalley saved one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world from certain death on Monday, November 29th.

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3-Year-Old Teague Whalley Discovers Stranded Sea Turtle

Teague proves the rule that you’re never too young to begin saving the world, one turtle at a time.  Turtle Journal salutes Teague and his mother Karen Whalley for their successful efforts to save this badly injured, and cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

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Sagamore Beach, Bourne, Massachusetts

Late Monday morning, Karen Whalley and her son Teague walked Sagamore Beach on a beautiful sunny day.  The seas were calm and the winds gentle.  The tide had receded, allowing Karen and Teague to explore the shoreline.  As they approached a rock groin (the distant one pictured above), Teague and his mom found a “beautiful” sea turtle unlike anything they had ever seen on the beach before.  Not knowing what to do, they returned to their nearby home and searched the internet to find a Cape Cod sea turtle rescuer to call.  Unsurprisingly, Google search produced the hotline number for Turtle Journal (508-274-5108).  They also found the procedures for saving a stranded sea turtle.

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Teague Whalley Recovers Sea Turtle from Rising Tide

After calling Turtle Journal, Karen and Teague rushed back to the beach.  The tide was rising quickly, and they had to plunge into the water to rescue the turtle before it was dragged out to sea and condemned to certain death.  As they lifted the turtle to the beach, it began to move its flippers, signaling that it was quite alive.  Karen and Teague covered the sea turtle with dry seaweed to prevent hypothermia while they waited for the Turtle Journal rescue team to arrive.

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Don Lewis, Kemp’s Ridley, Teague Whalley

While Turtle Journal’s Sue Wieber Nourse documented the rescue with photographs, Don Lewis examined this juvenile, 2-year-old Kemp’s ridley.  Its right eye had been damaged either by scraping against the rocks as it was driven ashore or by predatory gulls.  But this little critter proved a survivor and demonstrated its fight for life by trying to “swim” out of my arms.

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Kemp’s Ridley Arrives at New England Aquarium Rescue Center

It was late in the afternoon, but we knew that this animal would not survive the night unless it received immediate medical attention.  We called the New England Aquarium marine rescue hotline and explained the situation.  While they are swamped with nearly a hundred cold-stunned turtles already, and rarely accept new animals this late in the day, they generously agreed to accept this Kemp’s ridley.  Sue Wieber Nourse and I raced up Route 3 to the new marine rescue facility in Quincy, and the turtle was admitted to the emergency facility by 4:15.

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Sea Turtle Rescuers Teague Whalley and Karen Whalley

But none of this would have been possible if it were not for a heroic young lad, Teague Whalley, and his mom Karen.

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