Sea turtle health is an important component of conservation since these taxa is susceptible to infectious diseases that can cause illness increasing its mortality. Threats to health, survival, and reproduction of sea turtles are increasingly documented; however, prevention and control has not yet been successfully achieved. Thus, the need to develop conservation strategies on an ecosystem scale is a growing concern. Information about health indicators of sea turtles is a useful tool to achieve the best possible conservation measures. The objective of this study was to establish a baseline of health assessments of free-ranging Eastern Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from developmental habitats in Baja California Sur. Here we contribute with a clinical exam for sea turtles and reference interval values of vital signs (Corporal temperature: subadults, 21.22 ± 3.43; juveniles, 22.2 ± 2.95. Heart rate: subadults, 37.41 ± 2.95; juveniles, 38.27 ± 4.09. Pulse rate: subadults, 15.07 ± 3.88; juveniles, 19.97 ± 0.82), that in conjunction with the complete blood count and plasma blood biochemistry, 100% of the turtles were classified as “healthy.” Development of site-specific health indicators for wild, healthy sea turtle populations is an important factor in creating effective management protocols and thus enhances our ability to understand the effects of anthropogenic and environmental changes on sea turtle health.
Part of the book: Animal Welfare