Rare Turtle Flown to Florida for Treatment

By Suzan Clarke

Sep 6, 2012 8:25am
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Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

A rare turtle that washed ashore on the U.S. Virgin Islands during Tropical Storm Isaac and was flown to Florida for treatment at Turtle Hospital is making improvement.

The turtle’s condition is still guarded, but caregivers at the hospital are optimistic about her chances for survival.

The reptile, a 123-pound female hawksbill named “Good Hope” for the beach where she washed up on St. Croix, was laden with eggs. She was apparently trying to get close to the beach to lay those eggs when she was caught in the storm, according to The Turtle Hospital’s blog.

The turtle was found on Aug. 24. She was being cared for in St. Croix, but her caregivers decided she needed more advanced treatment.

American Airlines donated a flight to Miami for the turtle. From there, she was transported by Turtle Hospital ambulance to the hospital on Marathon Key.

Prior to washing up on the beach, the turtle had apparently been hooked by fishermen, then gaffed to remove the lines. As a result of her injuries, Good Hope suffered an infection. Her eyes were swollen shut and there was fluid in her lungs, the hospital’s blog reported.

She was treated with IV antibiotics.

According to the Associated Press, veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader said the turtle remained in guarded condition but was improving. He said when he first examined the turtle Sunday, 80 percent of its white blood cells were deemed “toxic.” That figure, Mader said, is now at 20 percent.

Mader also noted that swelling around the turtle’s eyes had diminished and the animal was much more active and swimming around in a shallow recovery pool, the AP also reported.

Several of her eggs are being incubated.

The goal is to eventually return the turtle – and any hatchlings – to St. Croix.

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