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Loggerhead sea turtle Perseverance

Coming up for air! Perseverance—or “Vera,” for short—knows how to ham it up for the camera.

Perseverance’s rehabilitation journey at our Sea Turtle Healing Center has been anything but conventional. It began in late July when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reached out to us about an adult female loggerhead sea turtle repeatedly observed struggling to nest. With help from University of Central Florida (UCF) and Brevard County Ocean Rescue, we collected her from the beach and brought her to the Zoo.

This massive sea turtle’s intake exam revealed that she was having difficulty passing eggs, and, after medically inducing her, Perseverance laid over 100 eggs in her tank! The eggs were picked up by UCF personnel, and buried and marked near Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, where Perseverance was found attempting to lay them several days prior.

Perseverance came to us with both PIT (internal) and flipper (external) tags, which gave us the opportunity to search databases for information about her history.

We already knew Perseverance was fully grown because of her size, but we had no way of narrowing down her age beyond that without these records. She was first tagged as an adult by US Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) as part of a relocation effort during a dredging operation… all the way back on July 4, 1996!

We also discovered that UCF’s Marine Turtle Research Group (MTRG) originally tagged Perseverance on July 26, 2016 in Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge during a successful nesting event; she laid a clutch of 127 eggs, with 56 hatchlings emerging in September 2016. Perseverance was spotted nesting again on August 7, 2018 (loggerhead sea turtles typically lay eggs every other year), with 70 hatchlings emerging from the nest in September 2018!

While we still do not know Perseverance’s exact age, we now know—thanks to ERDC and MTRG—that she has been around for quite some time and has successfully nested on Brevard County beaches in the past.

Healing Center staff report that Perseverance is doing well and may be eligible for release soon! To keep up to date with her rehabilitation journey, keep an eye out for updates on her “Meet the Patients” page.

Taking care of a 350-pound sea turtle is expensive! If you’d like to help cover the costs of Perseverance’s rehabilitation, click here to make a contribution.