Earlier in January, an 80 lb green sea turtle named “Paul” was admitted to our hospital with a humongous sized tumor growing on his right shoulder. One of our current patients, “Jimbo”, holds the record for the biggest tumor we have seen here at the hospital with one weighing in at 3.2 lbs (“Jimbo” is doing great by the way and has almost reached his year of going tumor free!) With “Paul’s” arrival we were sure that he would give “Jimbo’s” tumor a run for his money. A month later after “Paul” had gained his strength, an endoscope was performed to ensure he had no internal tumors, and his blood levels were normal, Dr. Kristen from Marathon Veterinary Hospital was in to remove this incredibly uncomfortable tumor off of “Paul’s” shoulder along with getting him completely tumor free.
Dr. Kristen removing “Paul’s” 1.69 lb tumor off of his shoulder
Surgery was successful and staff held a contest on the Turtle Hospital’s Facebook page to guess the weight of Paul’s tumor for a free Turtle Hospital shirt. The correct weight ended up being only 1.69 lbs, although we are sure “Paul” also thought it weighed much more than that. ”Paul” is doing well with his recovery after his tumor removals and looks like a brand new happy and healthy tumor free turtle. Thanks to Dr. Kristen for volunteering her time to get “Paul” tumor free on her day off along with all of “Paul’s” supporters throughout the Turtle Hospital community.
“Paul” waking up from his surgery. Notice the softball sized tumor is gone off his right shoulder
Wednesday, February 12th was a big day for the stranding hotline at the hospital with two turtles being admitted within hours of each other. The first call came from Holly and Mike in Grassy Key. They had been enjoying their morning coffee when they noticed a large green sea turtle with fibropapilloma turtles aimlessly swimming around in the shallow mangrove waters behind their house. They had heard about the dreaded FP tumors so they called us here at the hospital and rehab specialist, Devin, responded to the call. In order to get the turtle later named “Pe’e” some help, Devin decided getting in the mucky mangrove water would be her best bet. When she stepped in, she immediately sank into mud up to her knees. After battling the knee deep mud, Devin finally reached “Pe’e”, netted him and battled with the 55 lb turtle to get him on a nearby kayak, Mike and Holly had launched just in case. ”Pe’e” was reeled in and taken to recover at the hospital. His first surgery is scheduled for later this week if his blood levels are strong enough to undergo anesthesia.
Mike and Holly with “Pe’e”
The second call came five hours later from Karen, a biologist for FWC, who had a friend down in Big Coppitt Key continually seeing a little green sea turtle, also covered in FP tumors, floating at the surface. Devin responded yet again and met Reeves and Amadore behind their apartments to investigate. Sure enough a little green with tumors, later named “Captain Morgan”, was floating around in a canal looking very lethargic. Devin hit the water again this time in a kayak with a net to try and get the turtle the help it needed. After countless misses of trying to net the lethargic but fiesty turtle, Devin decided another plan of action needed to commence as the sun was quickly setting. Reeves volunteered to get into the water and try to net the turtle by sneaking the net up from under “Captain Morgan” as he floated at the surface for his breaths. Sure enough the plan worked and Reeves was able to get “Captain” in the net and Devin pulled him aboard the kayak. ”Captain Morgan’s” tumor load is very abundant and because of this his blood levels are very low. In order to get him into his first surgery to have those tumors removed he will need to have a few weeks of antibiotics and fluid therapy along with getting some nutrition into him.
Amadore, Karen, Reeves, and Matt with “Captain Morgan”
“Captain Morgan” and “Pe’e” are not thrilled with their variety of food here at the hospital and are still very weak so we have been tube feeding them a nutritional formula to get them strong enough to eat. Both turtles continue to slowly show improvements and we have high hopes for both of them. Thank you Mike and Holly who rescued “Pe’e” and to Reeves, Amadore, Karen, and Matt for helping in the rescue of “Captain Morgan”.
Thanks to everyone who helped us wish good-luck to Kristi and Gizmo who swam back out to sea on Valentine’s Day! The event was very successful and helped reach people all over the world! Our live YouTube broadcast was also a success and we learned a lot so that we can make the next one perfect. We are looking forward to many releases in the next couple of months, stay posted to our website and social media for details!
A Very Special Public Sea Turtle Release Planned for Valentine’s Day!
Gizmo and Kristi
February 14, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
On the beach behind M.M. 88 Restaurant
We’re better together…
Please join us as we partner with renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland, and Save A Turtle organization for a very special public sea turtle release on Valentine’s Day on the beach located behind Mile Marker 88 restaurant in Islamorada, Florida Keys.
Gizmo, a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle was found floating behind a resident’s home off of Conch Key on October 20, 2013. Gizmo was emaciated and had a wound on the top of his skull. X-rays taken at the Turtle Hospital revealed an intestinal impaction. Gizmo was treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic, lactulose, vitamins, honey wound care and a healthy diet of squid and fish.
Kristi, an adult loggerhead sea turtle was rescued just North of Tavernier Creek where she was found entangled in a trap line. Kristi was freed from the trap line and taken to the Turtle Hospital for treatment. Kristi received physical therapy on her back flipper and was treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic, vitamins, and a healthy diet of squid and fish.
Gizmo and Kristi are back to good health and ready to return to the wild! We will arrive at MM 88 Restaurant in the Turtle Ambulance by 11:30 a.m. You will have the opportunity to meet Gizmo and Kristi close-up before they return to the wild at 12:00 p.m. Sea you there!
Saturday February 8th, ended with two new turtles to add to our group. First, Stanley was rescued offshore of Key Largo by three guys out fishing; Leo, Austin, and CJ. They noticed a small turtle swimming in circles and trying to dive under the water but it was unable to go down. The small turtle looks to be filled with lots of intestinal gas after completing an x-ray which could be due to some foreign matter he had eaten or from infection. It appears Stanley had survived some kind of predator attack and he could be ill from surviving injuries like his missing flipper and wounds to his shell.
Foxy Brown was found struggling to breathe off of the seawall in Key West at mile marker 1. A good Samaritan called the Key West Wildlife Center and members Marlene and Tom were able to fish the turtle out. Unfortunately despite all of our efforts, Foxy Brown was so severely emaciated and weak that she passed away last night. The effects of the Fibropapilloma virus had become so severe that this turtle was already on its last legs. We are happy to report that Stanley is definitely expected to make a full recovery. Thanks for reading!