Adoption – Cork

Date: June 6, 2022
Location: Panama City Beach, Bay County, Florida
Circumstances: floating
“Cork” was a rescue from the Russell-Fields City Pier in early June. A known turtle at the pier, Cork is easily recognizable because of his missing left front flipper. Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) received word that Cork was struggling at the surface, and a rescue was completed by the Panama City Beach Lifeguards and GWMI staff.
Upon arrival, the veterinary staff diagnosed one of Cork’s challenges: his body cavity is full of air. Why is this a problem? The air in Cork’s body is not in his lungs, it is everywhere! This means that he floats significantly higher out of the water than he should be able to, and he can not dive. It is because of this that he was given the name “Cork”, as he constantly floats. Additionally, radiographs (X-rays) showed two small circle hooks in Cork’s intestines.
Cork’s case will be a challenging one, and his prognosis is uncertain at this time. The good news is that he can swim (at the surface, at least) of his habitat, and is receiving regular medical attention.
Thank you to the public who helped to rescue Cork, along with the City Pier staff and Panama City Beach Lifeguards who assisted.

Adoption – Killian

Date: May 27, 2022
Location: Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, Santa Rosa County, Florida
Circumstances: caught by recreational fisherman
“Killian” is one of many sea turtles that continue to be rescued after encountering hooks! Many come from the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, like Killian. Fortunately for Killian, the local sea turtle team was able to use a specially-designed drop net for his rescue! The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center stranding response team is always on call for accidental turtle-pier interactions! His name, “Killian”, refers to the first name of Captain Hook’s character in the show “Once Upon a Time”.
Killian’s recovery story is a sad, yet hopeful one. A total of 5 hooks were seen on his radiographs (X-ray images). These included a massive shark hook at the top of his esophagus, three circle/J-style hooks near his stomach, and an additional circle/J-style hook further down in his intestines. Hooks always present a challenge, and because of this, the veterinary staff had to spend multiple days removing those hooks. The large shark hook was removed from his mouth first. After a few days of recovery, a fully-sedated surgery was conducted to remove the three circle/J-style hooks near his stomach. This procedure, called an esophagotomy, involved making a cut or incision in his neck, through his esophagus, in order to try and pull the hooks and any fishing line out. The procedure, thankfully, was successful! After another few days of recovery, Killian was ready to be moved to a water habitat. It was while moving him that GWMI volunteers found the fifth and final hook; Killian had passed it in some feces while recovering from surgery!
Killian is now swimming well in a shallow water habitat. He has still not shown an interest in food, so along with regular medical examinations and medications, the GWMI team’s primary goal is to encourage him to eat.
Thank you to the public and other sea turtle organizations who helped to rescue Killian, namely the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center and the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center.

Adoption – Oceanna

Date: June 8, 2022
Location: Panama City Beach, Bay County, Florida
Circumstances: entangled
Being brought in on World Ocean’s Day was only too appropriate for “Oceanna”. Her stranding can teach us a lesson about the importance of cleaning up after ourselves while visiting our local beaches. Found struggling near the sand bar, Oceanna was entangled in a wad of “marine debris”. In his/her case, the wad included a lot of plastic fishing gear, some metal bars, and some metal fishing hooks. The entanglement was wrapped around both of Oceanna’s front flippers, as well as his/her neck!
Upon arrival, the veterinary staff at Gulf World Marine Institute quickly removed the metal bars from around Oceanna’s neck, and began to carefully remove the fishing line wrapping tightly around the flippers. Both flippers show deep tissue damage from the injury, but thankfully the injuries do not extend into the bone. This means that, while Oceanna has a long road to recovery ahead, he/she can still use the front flippers for swimming!
Oceanna is swimming well in a shallow water habitat, although has not developed a strong appetite yet. This is normal when sea turtles are first brought into rehabilitation, especially when they are fighting injuries or illness. Oceanna receives regular medical care, including a cold laser therapy treatment that will help to encourage faster healing of the entanglement injuries.
A special thank you to the beach jetski vendors who rescued Oceanna from the surf! Thank you also to the PCB lifeguards for their part in his/her transport to GWMI.

Adoption – Shamrock

Date: March 17, 2022
Location: St. Joseph Bay, Gulf County, Florida
Circumstances: blunt force trauma
Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) received word of a juvenile sea turtle that was found floating near the shore in St. Joseph Bay. The turtle was found by a guest of the State Park on the tip of Cape San Blas, and communications between many asset providers (listed below) allowed for a quick transport of the animal to GWMI. He/she arrived on St. Patrick’s Day, and so was given the fitting name of “Shamrock”.
Shamrock experienced blunt force trauma (source unknown) to the head. The injury is critical, but he/she is maintaining an energetic attitude. The injury has been packed veterinary staff recheck it daily. He/she is doing well in shallow water so far, and we will continue to monitor their progress. In addition to the trauma, some fibropapillomatosis tumors are on Shamrock’s flippers, and so care will be taken to isolate him/her, and treat the tumors if they progress.
Thank you to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park staff, along with members of the United States Geological Survey, local turtle patrol members, and for assistance with the rescue and transport of Shamrock.