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Media News


It is with great sadness that Zoo Miami reports that a green sea turtle that had suffered a catastrophic injury from a boat strike, was euthanized today following a computed tomography (CT) scan that confirmed that the injury severed the animal’s spinal cord, making it impossible for it to ever survive on its own.

The 80 pound female turtle was rescued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) officers on May 28th after being found floating in a waterway in Coral Gables.  She was then transferred to Zoo Miami’s Sea Turtle Hospital for treatment and evaluation by the Animal Health Team.

Upon arrival, the turtle had several severe lacerations deep into the top of her shell and appeared to be partially paralyzed. The team worked to treat the wounds and stabilize the animal so that further tests could be done to be able to give a more accurate prognosis for recovery.

Yesterday, Dr. Doug Mader, a sea turtle veterinary specialist and Zoo Miami veterinary consultant, met with Zoo Miami Associate Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian, and the Animal Health Team, to closely examine the turtle and performed further tests that included and ultrasound and a CT scan.  The CT scan was performed by Dr. Xavier Meaux of Mobile Pet Imaging who brought his special mobile CT scanner.

Unfortunately, the scans confirmed the team’s worst fears.  They revealed that the spinal cord was indeed severed, eliminating any chance this turtle may have had to survive on its own.  Sadly, the decision was made to humanely euthanize it to prevent any further suffering.

The team had put in many hours treating this individual in hopes that she could recover, so this diagnosis was devastating.  However, they are trying to take some comfort in knowing that they made every effort to help this animal and have ended her suffering in a humane manner.

We hope that this sad story helps to raise awareness among boaters to be on the lookout for these threatened and endangered species so that in the future, incidents like these can be avoided. 

On a more positive note, “Baymax,” the nearly 400 pound loggerhead turtle who had surgery to treat a severe shark attack continues to heal well at Zoo Miami’s Sea Turtle Hospital and the prognosis for her release back to the wild in the future is good!

Photo by: Ron Magill

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