The Florida Aquarium shares an inspirational story of sea turtle resilience. Today, the Aquarium’s Animal Response Team, supported by Florida Blue, released Endor, a juvenile green sea turtle amputee at Wilbur by the Sea.
Endor arrived at The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach on April 1, 2019, from Volusia County. The turtle was found suffering from cold-stunning, which is when sea turtles are exposed to cold ocean water and air temperatures for an extended period, rendering them immobile since they are cold-blooded.
Cold-stunned turtles are unable to swim and can develop symptoms, including decreased heart rate, low blood circulation, and pneumonia. If they do not receive treatment, cold-stunned sea turtles can be susceptible to drowning, infections, predation, or boat strikes.
In the weeks following its care, Endor developed an infection in its left flipper. The sea turtle was taken to Tampa General Hospital for a CT scan to get a better look at the infection. Over time, The Florida Aquarium’s veterinary staff administered antibiotics in hopes of saving the limb, but it was found that the injury was not healing correctly, and it needed to be amputated. Sea turtles with three flippers are known to be able to survive with no issue in the wild.
Endor has since completely recovered from surgery and has nearly doubled in size since arrival. So, after months of excellent care, this little guy was ready to go home. Endor was cleared for release back into the wild by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the veterinary staff at the Aquarium.
Around noon today, Endor was walked into the water and was released back into the ocean. The sea turtle swam off with grace and ease. Sea Turtle Biologist Katie Hartwig, who has been primarily rehabilitating the turtle, said, “It’s so rewarding to rehabilitate and release our sea turtle patients. Endor has been doing exceptionally well with three flippers, and I’m confident the turtle will thrive in the wild.” The Florida Aquarium has released a total of 11 sea turtles back into their natural habitat since the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center opened last year. The Center currently has three loggerhead patients being rehabilitated.
All care and turtle rehabilitation by The Florida Aquarium is done with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles and authorized under conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-19-179.
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