Patient Status: Released on Dec. 28, 2017.
Date Found: September 13, 2017.
Location Found: Skyway Bridge Marina, Pinellas County, FL.
Reason for Rescue: Fibropapilloma tumors; entangled in fishing line.
WEIGHT: 26.1 kg (57.5 lbs)
SCL (STRAIGHT CARAPACE LENGTH): 58.5 cm (23.0 in)
EXAM FINDINGS: Alert and active, in good body condition. Few larger-sized paps on the flippers; minimal epibiota (i.e., barnacles) on the carapace (shell) or plastron (belly). Fishing line loosely wrapped around flippers; caused no damage.
INITIAL TREATMENT: Received vitamins and fluids.
On September 13, 2017, a juvenile green turtle with fibropapilloma tumors was found entangled in fishing line by the Skyway Fishing Pier in Pinellas County, Florida. CMA’s Rescue Team was contacted, picked up the turtle, and brought it back to the aquarium for triage and care.
Monofilament fishing line is very dangerous for turtles, especially fishing line that remains in the ocean and isn’t disposed of properly. Turtles can get tangled in the line, causing flipper amputations, or they can swallow the line causing digestive problems. Gardenia was very lucky to be found before the fishing line caused any problems for her. It’s important that you clean up after yourself any time you go fishing.
Fibropapillomatosis is a virus that is most common in juvenile green sea turtles and is rarely seen in other sea turtle species. The virus causes cauliflower-like tumors to grow on the turtle’s soft tissues. This virus is very contagious so once a turtle with this virus comes into our facility, it is quarantined in our Intensive Care Unit. Although the cause of this virus is still unknown, you can help by keeping our oceans clean of trash and chemical pollutants.
DID YOU KNOW? Gardenia is missing a hind flipper but still can swim great! Turtle can still swim even if they are missing a flipper (or two).
9/13/17 – Started on a daily regimen of glucose checks and fluids.
9/14/17 – Given a swim test, had no problems surfacing or staying underwater. Slowly began to increase swim time each day.
9/15/17 – Offered food for the first time; showed no interest in it.
9/23/17 – Now spending all day and night in a rehab pool.
9/24/17 – Started on antibiotic medication.
9/28/17 – Finally showing interest in food; started on a regular diet, slowly increasing day by day.
10/4/17 – Glucose checks, fluids, and antibiotic meds discontinued. Started on oral medications.
11/2/17 – Successful surgery performed to remove fibropapilloma tumors. Eye drops to be administered on a daily basis following removal of eye tumors.
11/16/17 – Oral medications discontinued.
12/15/17 – Cleared for release!
12/28/17 – Released at Honeymoon Island State Park, Pinellas County, Florida after 101 days in rehab at CMA. Good luck back out in the wild, Gardenia!
All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained 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. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-17-172.