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Juvenile green sea turtle Grindylow

After a seven-month stay, Grindylow is ready to return to the ocean!

We are excited to share that we plan to return juvenile green sea turtles LJ and Grindylow to the ocean at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach on Thursday, December 29 at 2 p.m. – and you’re invited to join us!

Although these turtles have differing rehabilitation stories, both were found sick or injured and brought to the Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center for care.

Juvenile green sea turtle LJ's shell

LJ’s boat strike wound is all healed up!

LJ is a juvenile green sea turtle who was found struggling near the surface of the water on June 5. Upon arrival, this sea turtle presented with a deep boat strike injury along their shell, anemia and low kidney function, among other issues. Despite the severity of this patient’s injuries, Healing Center staff worked diligently to heal this sea turtle.

LJ’s road to recovery included a feeding tube for nutritional support, medication, general care as well as negative-pressure wound therapy. This therapy helps heal wounds, such as the one down LJ’s shell, by creating negative pressure over the wound, removing bacteria and reducing swelling. This therapy became even more efficient at the Healing Center thanks to 3M, a science and innovation company.

Our veterinary staff had previously contacted 3M to secure negative-pressure wound therapy devices and dressings to have on hand in case a need arose. Although LJ was a good candidate for the therapy, securing the dressings and devices to enable LJ to swim and dive in their tank proved tricky. Scott Lovell, a regional 3M wound therapy account representative who works with physicians and medical providers for human patients, helped our veterinary team troubleshoot and better understand how to use the company’s wound care products, providing additional wound care materials to help with LJ’s healing process.

After several months of care, LJ has been cleared for release and is ready to accompany Grindylow into the ocean.

Juvenile green sea turtle Grindylow was brought to the Healing Center on May 16 after being found floating at the surface of the water, emaciated, covered in algae and with a possible older trauma to their shell. Upon intake, abnormal lesions were found on this patient. Biopsies returned negative for the fibropapillomatosis, or FP, virus, although later in their stay with us Grindylow developed FP tumors.

While attempting to discover the reason behind their buoyancy, a CT scan revealed no abnormalities in Grindylow’s spine. Once this sea turtle gained some weight and strength during their rehabilitation stay, Healing Center staff applied weights to this patient’s shell to help alleviate some of their buoyancy. In addition, Grindylow spent some time at the Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center for a deep-water trial, which allowed staff to better gauge how this sea turtle can swim and dive. Grindylow’s trial was successful, and after months of weight gain, nutritional support, medication and general care, this sea turtle was approved for release.

This release is open to the public, meaning you can witness LJ and Grindylow being returned to the ocean! Join us on Thursday, December 29 at 2 p.m. at Lori Wilson Park at Cocoa Beach for this special sendoff. Please note that this release will happen rain or shine. If you plan to attend, we suggest getting there early!

LJ and Grindylow will be released on the North side of Lori Wilson Park, but we would encourage those attending to utilize both the North and South parking lots.

Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.

Want to help the Sea Turtle Healing Center? Support our Zoo, or view our Healing Center’s wishlist.