Our Sea Turtle Healing Center experiences so many amazing moments, from a critical patient who recovers well from surgery to the return of a turtle back to the water. But those happy moments are accompanied by the hard times we realize we’ve done all we can for a patient. We want to share one of those times with you in the hopes it can help save another sea turtle.
Crush was brought to us on March 25, after a fisherman accidentally hooked the green sea turtle in the mouth from the Jetty Park Pier. By not simply cutting the line or removing the hook, this rescuer saved Crush from a longer life filled with pain. We were able to remove this hook, but we soon discovered through x-rays that Crush had five intact hooks in their body – two in the mouth, one in the esophagus and two lower in the gastrointestinal tract – along with pieces of hooks.
It’s so important that every turtle who is accidentally hooked is brought to a rehabilitation center. Even if the hook can be easily removed from the sea turtle’s mouth, they should be looked over to see if they have any more hooks or fishing line in their body.
Crush passed one of the hooks that was in their lower gastrointestinal tract on their own. Our veterinary team was able to carefully remove the hook from Crush’s esophagus with an endoscopy, a type of procedure that uses a tool called an endoscope, which has a lighted end, to look inside the body. Through an exploratory celiotomy, a surgery that begins with an incision to the abdomen, one of the remaining GI hooks and a swivel were removed.
We continued monitoring and caring for Crush in the weeks that followed, but their health took a significant downturn. Since surgery, Crush had been showing signs of pain, as well as not eating or swimming. The last few ultrasounds showed possible blood clots and fluid within Crush’s body. Externally, Crush showed signs of being septic, which was later confirmed.
Our team made the difficult, but compassionate decision to euthanize Crush, who was surrounded by kindness from our animal care staff until the very end.
Again, please seek help for any sea turtle that has been hooked. While sea turtles are an endangered species, you will not get in trouble for hooking them. If you hook or entangle a sea turtle in Brevard County, please take these steps:
By taking these steps, we can continue to help sea turtles in our area together.
Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.