The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

One In, One Out

Just when one Loggerhead gets healthy enough for release, another comes in sick! Turtle Hospital staff was thrilled to release a subadult Loggerhead named ‘Grace’ on April 6th and were ready a few days later to admit another subadult Loggerhead on April 10th.


Everyone sneaks a quick, up close peak at ‘Grace’ and learns a little more about the threat to sea turtles.

Grace came to us back in mid-January, found floating in a backyard canal in the Tavernier area. During 3 months of treatment, Grace received a broad spectrum antibiotic and beano hidden inside her favorite food, squid. Over time, we noticed Grace slowly started to float less and finally was able to rest on the bottom! The floating was likely due to an internal infection or possibly to the small plastic fragments that the turtle passed. Looking healthy, with excellent blood chemistry, we knew it was time for release!

A large group of sea turtle fans came out to Anne’s beach to join in with us as we wished Grace good-luck! A very special guest, Florida Congressman Joe Garcia, helped to carry the tub out to shallow water where Grace was dipped back in!

Photo credit: Andy Newman

Florida Congressman Joe Garcia (left), hospital staff, and volunteers carry the tub out to sea! Photo credit: Andy Newman

On April 10th, just a few days later, Turtle Hospital received a call from Pat Wells of Save-A-Turtle who was organizing a transfer effort for a 100-lb Loggerhead found floating in John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo. A marine scientist named Hillary was alerted by a park visitor about the floating turtle and she was able to swim out and rescue the turtle from the water.

Hillary and Hillary

Hillary and Hillary

After a ride down US-1, Turtle Hospital’s newest patient ‘Hillary’ arrived to Marathon. Initial observations are still ongoing with this turtle, but nothing significant has been noted this early on. Hillary is very weak and lethargic, but making our job much easier by eating on her own!


Hopefully in a few months, just like Grace, we’ll be walking down the beach to release Hillary back to the wild!

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