MARINELAND, FLA. (JANUARY 19, 2017) – This past weekend, staff from Marineland Dolphin Adventure were able to assist the Marine Science Center in the aid and treatment of a rescued Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) with a blood transfusion. The blood was provided by Marineland’s resident Kemp’s ridley turtle, Pokey.

The rescued Kemp’s Ridley was underweight, lethargic, and has a bacterial pneumonia causing respiratory bleeding. At that time, Marine Science Center veterinary staff determined that a blood transfusion was needed. This is the first time Pokey has been a blood donor for a transfusion. In the past, Marineland has used their loggerhead turtle, Rocky, for blood donations in transfusions with other turtles. A healthy blood donor is needed for all blood donations, just like for humans. Animals like Rocky and Pokey tend to be in better health than their wild counterparts, with access to exceptional medical and nutritional care and less exposure to dangers like predators and marine debris.

The animals at Marineland are active participants in their own healthcare. Routine health exams are conducted by veterinary staff not only to monitor health and wellbeing, but to ensure that these exams are familiar and a positive experience.

The rescued Kemp’s ridley turtle is still in recovery and the staff caring for it at the Marine Science Center are guardedly optimistic. Pokey will be a candidate to assist with future blood transfusions should the occasion call for it and as long as his health remains in good condition. Marineland Dolphin Adventure are always proud to assist rescue and rehabilitation organizations in their continued efforts.

Pokey came to Marineland Dolphin Adventure in October of 2015 and was hatched on July 18, 1984 at another zoological facility.

For photos of Pokey and the Marineland Dolphin Adventure animal care team during this procedure, please click here.


Adult Kemp’s ridley sea turtles average about two feet in carapace (shell) length. Adults weigh between 70 and 108 pounds. Adults have a dark grey to green carapace, while the hatchlings are jet black. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are very rare and currently listed as Endangered under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act, and Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List.  This species faces a variety of dangers, including entanglement in fishing gear, killing of adults and juveniles for meat and other products, and historically, egg collection. There are an estimated 7,000 – 9,000 nesting females in the current population.



Marineland Dolphin Adventure is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Marineland, Fla. and an affiliate of Georgia Aquarium. Marineland Dolphin Adventure opened in 1938 as Marine Studios and pioneered marine science studies, animal training, and water chemistry over the years. It is also known for establishing the world’s first successful dolphin breeding program. Today, utilizing interactive education with engaging and immersive experiences, guests are inspired to value and respect marine mammals. Turtles, sharks, rays, and varieties of fish also educate guests on the unique aquatic life found in our ocean. Guests are able to make a connection with marine mammals through any one of Marineland’s programs and gain a true understanding of why we need to protect these incredible animals and their environments. For more information visit