Behind the Scenes banner
Nephron the green sea turtle is held by a Sea Turtle Healing Center staff member

Goodbye, Nephron!

We wished juvenile green sea turtle Nephron well as we returned them to the ocean on Aug. 18, 2022! 

Nephron the green sea turtle is held by a Sea Turtle Healing Center staff memberNephron came to our Sea Turtle Healing Center after being stranded in Port Canaveral on March 10, 2022 – World Kidney Day, which inspired their name. This juvenile green sea turtle had fishing line coming out of their mouth. Thank you to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society for bringing Nephron to us. 

This piece of fishing gear can be very harmful to marine life, especially turtles. Please remember to pack your fishing gear before and after use, and place unwanted fishing line in the designated bins at waterfront parks.   

While Nephron initially passed about 150 centimeters of fishing line, animal care staff saw during their daily ultrasounds that more fishing line remained in Nephron’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  

Before undergoing surgery, Nephron needed a CT scan to see if they had tumors growing inside of their body, a symptom of fibropapillomatosis (FP). This disease causes tumors to grow inside and outside a sea turtle’s body. After a CT scan at Rockledge Regional Medical Center showed no tumors, our animal care team moved forward with the major surgery to remove the fishing line from Nephron’s GI tract.    

The surgery entails making a cut in the inguinal, or groin area, gently pulling the intestines out, and feeling the intestines for the fishing line. An additional 50 centimeters of fishing line was removed from Nephron, bringing the total amount of fishing line they ingested to about 200 centimeters.    


Since this major surgery, our Healing Center staff helped Nephron heal and prepare for another surgery to remove the small FP tumors from their body – a surgery Nephron again healed well from, thanks to our care staff. 

All of this hard work and care had a wonderful result: Sending Nephron home! A joyous crowd provided a wonderful sendoff!

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.