Results of Sea Turtle Acupuncture Resuscitation Pilot Trial
and the Tortuga Revival Device

By Steve Canion D.C., CAc, Biologist and Phil Rogers MVB, MRCVS


Ana Negrete successfully revived the first stranded sea turtle with the sea turtle revival device at Xcaret/La Playa Mexico in July 2010. Negrete said the sea turtle was in pretty bad shape, but she used the solar magnet for half an hour every day. It worked really well!!! The turtle is doing better even though she has some lung tissue compromised. Negrete is the veterinarian in charge of sea turtles and manatees at Xcaret, and she also rehabs sick turtles from all over the Yucatan at their marvelous facility. She has also used the Star Protocol with acupuncture needles to resuscitate two comatose turtles


Sea turtle caught in artisanal stingray/shark net in San Felipe, Mexico.

Is it possible to revive stranded dead-appearing sea turtles, turtles in coma from head injuries, or ones that have recently drowned? The answer is yes.

The question is when to attempt to revive them. If they are stranded, there is probably some underlying pathology that you should be prepared to treat after you revive them. At Australian Seabird Rescue, their results were four revived out of 13 attempts, and one survived long term. However these were turtles otherwise declared dead. At South Carolina Aquarium, acupuncture and epi and doxapram were used to temporarily revive a few loggerheads that were declared dead.

At Xcaret, Mexico, two loggerheads have been revived long term after head injuries. The first was on an IV over three months, not eating or diving, just floating. She began moving during the first treatment and within a week began eating. Over a few weeks she was diving and acting like a normal turtle. The second loggerhead responded to acupuncture beginning with slow reactions and made good progress.

At LeReunion, France, two loggerheads were resuscitated successfully and released after being submerged, caught by hook. Pilot results thus far have had a 25 percent revival rate (short term) for beached dead turtles, a 100 percent revival rate for coma from concussion, and a 100 percent revival rate after coma from forced submergence. The positive results of the small trial (16 turtles) suggests the need for a larger full-scale controlled trial.

Shrimp trawling is one of the greatest causes of sea turtle mortality throughout the world. The S.T.A.R. protocol was originally designed by Phil Rogers M.S.R.V.C. and I to revive turtles in shock/coma for only a few hours due to being submerged by trawler nets or longline fishermen. Acupuncture at 1-3 specific points has been used by clinicians to successfully revive comatose humans, horses, dogs, cats and other species.

National Marine Fisheries Service compiled the results of seven research projects spanning 12 years during which 4,397 turtles were caught in trawler nets. For most tow times, there were more comatose than dead turtles. A turtle returned to the sea in coma is presumed to die.

Given the feedback regarding training laymen to use needles to resuscitate sea turtles aboard trawlers, a dime-sized solar-powered 10 Hz microamp generator has been developed by me and Joe Randolph of Randolph Telecom. It is working in human trials and rapidly having the desired physiologic effect when used at acupuncture points.

This device would be placed just below the turtle's nostrils at the philtrium, the main sea turtle emergency point. Itís as easy as putting on a bandaid.

Dr. Steve Canion
Resuscitation and Research, Casa Tortuga Marine Turtle Resuscitation Project
P. O. Box 60, Port Aransas, Texas USA
phone (361) 695-1900 fax (361) 749-3389
turtles@casatortuga.org
energetic@centurytel.net

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