A true Lowcountry animal lover

newsroom@islandpacket.comJune 25, 2014 

And we thought we were wildlife lovers.

Last Wednesday, a Kemp's Ridley turtle got caught in shrimper Andrew Van Frank's net. The animals are listed as critically endangered and are a rare sight in our area.

Fearing the animal would die, Van Frank flipped it over and began trying to resuscitate it.

"That was just my first thought, and I was doing whatever I could to get it breathing," he said.

After a minute of compressions, the turtle took a big gasp of air and its color returned, Van Frank said. (Luckily, it did not require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.) He then took it to the Hunting Island State Park Nature Center for follow-up care.

Kudos to Van Frank for working to save the endangered animal's life and exhibiting a strong commitment to Lowcountry critters. It's encouraging to meet neighbors who appreciate the natural world that helps make our region so special.

The turtle, believed to be 1 or 2 years old and weighing 35 pounds, was transferred to the Sea Turtle Hospital in Charleston. It is now doing fine, acting feisty and is likely to be released soon.

We'll never know if those chest compressions saved the turtle's life. But Van Frank's willingness to seek aid for the animal certainly did. We thank him for his efforts and hope his story serves as a reminder that we all share in the responsibility of looking out for our region's wild inhabitants.

And if we ever come across an ailing fish, dolphin, etc., we now know whom to call.

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