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Veterinary nurses check over new sea turtle patients.

Our animal care team worked hard to make sure a recent influx of sea turtle patients received excellent care.

As we fundraised for our Sea Turtle Healing Center last week, our Healing Center experienced the first of what we believe to be many influxes of sea turtle patients.  

A veterinary nurse checks over a new sea turtle patient.Over a dozen patients made their way to our Healing Center to be cared for and stabilized between Feb. 13-19. During a typical week, we may see one or two patients. Not all the patients remain here – some unfortunately succumbed to their illnesses and injuries, while others are transferred to other facilities at the request of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make room for local patients at our Healing Center.  

Upon arrival, new patients are assessed to ensure that more critical patients receive care first. With a large influx of sick sea turtle patients, our veterinary and volunteer staff shift to an “all available hands on deck” protocol. New patients receive a full veterinary exam, weight, wound treatment, morphometrics, bloodwork, radiographs and medication.  

This last week wasn’t quite as busy when compared to the influxes that typically happen mid-March, said Shanon Gann, our Sea Turtle Healing Center manager. Although there’s no proven reason for these influxes, one theory is that these turtles experience cold waters in northern areas, weaken and then experience an over growth of algae and barnacles.  

This influx comes a bit earlier in the year than we typically see. Our Healing Center has taken in 30 green sea turtles already this year, while in years past we’ve typically see about 70 total sea turtles 

Our 30th sea turtle is a bit of a mystery right now. They were found stranded in Cape Canaveral National Seashore on February 23. While they’re lethargic, they appear healthy otherwise so hopefully, their bloodwork will tell us more.  

Kemp's ridley sea turtle ProseccoAnother sea turtle of note from this latest group includes Prosecco, a subadult Kemp’s ridley found struggling to swim on February 18 in Indian River County. A CT scan found that Prosecco might have a tear in their lung leaking air into their body cavity. While our veterinary staff has tried solving this issue with multiple blood patches, surgery may be in Prosecco’s future.  

You can learn more about all our new patients here 

Because of your support during our Share the Love challenge, we can care for all these sea turtles with the goal of bringing them back to their natural habitat. If you would like to continue supporting us, please visit this link 

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.