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This photo was taken during a recent exam for Zoo Base – who will be headed back to the ocean soon!

Editor’s note: Zoo Base returned back to the ocean on October 18, 2023.

It’s finally time to say goodbye to Zoo Base, the loggerhead sea turtle who has been a patient at our Sea Turtle Healing Center for 15 months!  

Zoo Base will be released on Wednesday, October 18 at 4 p.m. at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. You’re welcome to attend! Just remember – this release will take place rain or shine, and it’s always a good idea to arrive at the park early to snag your parking and beach spots!   

In July 2022, Zoo Base was found off of Cocoa Beach floating, lethargic and unable to dive. This sea turtle had fishing line trailing out of their mouth. X-rays at our Healing Center later showed that Zoo Base had two large fishing hooks in their esophagus.   

The hooks were too far into the esophagus to remove them through the mouth, so our veterinary team had to perform surgery to remove them. The hook had also perforated through the esophagus and the bronchus of a lung, leaking air into the body cavity. This trapped air made Zoo Base buoyant.   

Our veterinary team was also concerned Zoo Base had ingested fishing line as well, so an emergency exploratory surgery was performed to remove any line from the GI if it was present, but none was found. 

Thank you to 3M, a science and innovation company, for wound care expertise and supplies for negative pressure therapy, which helped the surgical healing process for Zoo Base.

Our Healing Center team saw Zoo Base through these surgeries and the complications that followed, and now it’s time to send this loggerhead home!  

Zoo Base was named in honor of our hard-working front office staff who has taken some turtle calls for us by worried beach goers, looking for guidance on sea turtle stranding protocols.  

This loggerhead will be remembered for watching our volunteers and other turtle patients through the window in their pool! 

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.