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Zoo staff and volunteers stabilize Perseverance during her intake exam.

When Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received reports of an adult loggerhead sea turtle roaming the beach struggling to nest at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge for several consecutive nights, they reached out to our Sea Turtle Healing Center for help.

Fortunately, this huge sea turtle had already been tagged by researchers, so FWC was able to gather some background information on her. She was observed nesting without issue in both 2016 and 2018, which is normal as loggerhead sea turtles typically lay eggs every other year. An initial exam on the beach showed abnormalities such as weakness, swelling and an old, healed injury on the right rear portion of her shell.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, seven “sea turtle champions” from the Healing Center, University of Central Florida and Brevard County Ocean Rescue (BCOR) were on hand to retrieve and transport this massive reptile. BCOR provided a UTV to help get her off the beach and into a Zoo van.

She arrived at the Zoo around 2:30 a.m. and underwent an intake exam later that morning, weighing in at a whopping 347 pounds—making her one of our largest patients ever! She was named Perseverance after NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover that was launched on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Following an ultrasound and radiographs, we concluded Perseverance is having difficulty passing eggs. A CT scan showed no evidence of obstruction in her reproductive tract, so our veterinary team plans to induce egg-laying through injections.

Perseverance’s antibiotics will cost around $500 per month, and each induction injection costs fifty dollars. If you’d like to help cover these expenses, please contact individual giving manager Sherri Law at slaw@brevardzoo.org or 321-254-9453, ext. 234 or click here.