Hi! My name is Emily Cruse and I am a Veterinary Student from Bristol, England. I am here at MCSS for four weeks to gain experience in treating chelonians.
My time here at the Banyan Tree rehabilitation center started with me performing a Post Mortem examination on a hawksbill turtle that had died the day before. It is a sad but necessary part of the job as it allows us to learn what had caused the death and how others could be treated in the future.
Day to day I spend my time with the trapping team performing health checks on any terrapins we catch. This involves looking for any signs of external injuries or parasites as well as weighing and measuring them. I also X-Ray any females to see if they are pregnant. During my time here I also treated one of the resident giant tortoises for an eye infection. Luckily it was noticed early so there was no need to use antibiotics and it resolved quickly.
When I’m not treating animals I carry out my own research project analysing the data collected from the trapping team. Using over four years worth of data I have been developing a body condition index scoring system for both the black mud and yellow belly terrapins. I hope this will be used in future to aid the rehabilitation of sick terrapins and help select the most appropriate ones for the breeding program.