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A green sea turtle on a white towel

Bon voyage, Gucci!

Two green sea turtle patients are heading home to the ocean on Wednesday, December 27 at 11:30 a.m. at James H. Nance Park in Indialantic.  

This release is open to the public, rain or shine! We’re planning to have sea turtles Leli and Gucci’s flippers in the water at 11:30 a.m. – so you may want to arrive a bit earlier.  

A green sea turtle with FP tumors around their face

An intake photo of green sea turtle patient Leli.

Thank you to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, who brought both of these patients to our Sea Turtle Healing Center for care.  

Leli was found by bystanders on November 26, 2022, trying to crawl over logs in a Palm Bay waterway and struggling to swim. This turtle was named after the two people who found them: Lee and Lisa. Leli had a severe fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumor load. This debilitating disease causes external and internal tumors to grow all over a turtle’s body and can cause a host of issues for a turtle. In Leli’s case, this sea turtle was anemic.  

A green sea turtle being held

This photo is of Leli after treatment.

Leli received multiple surgeries to remove these tumors, which can impede a turtle’s vision and mobility. This sea turtle was also treated with electrochemotherapy, an alternative treatment to traditional surgery for FP patients. A device called an electroporator delivers electrotherapy into FP tumors, making them more permeable and allowing them to absorb even more chemotherapy and eventually causing the tumors to become necrotic and fall off.  

“Leli was a very good patient for all the surgeries they had to endure,” said Sea Turtle Healing Center coordinator Jess Patterson. “It took them a very long time to start eating their veggies with us, but they eventually came around.” 

Gucci was found floating in the Sebastian Inlet State Park by park rangers on Oct. 10, 2023. This sea turtle had a hook in their esophagus.  

A green sea turtle with a ruler above them

An intake photo of green sea turtle patient Gucci.

Upon intake at our Healing Center, Gucci was scoped, and the hook was removed from the esophagus through the mouth. Our Healing Center team then learned through fecal analysis that they had caryospora, the protozoa that can cause colitis and enteritis. Gucci was successfully treated for this illness. 

Gucci arrived at our Healing Center on National Handbag Day – hence the name!   

“Gucci was a very curious turtle and was eager to greet volunteers in the morning and see what they were doing around their pool,” Jess said.  

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.