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 – Seal

Date: September 15, 2022
Location: St. Joseph Bay, Gulf County, FL
Circumstances: vessel strike
After a busy summer of hook removals and loggerheads, “Seal” the green sea turtle is presenting different challenges than any of our other current patients. Similar to “Shamrock”, Seal was brought to GWMI after he/she was found with significant traumatic injuries. In Seal’s case, two propeller wounds on the back of the carapace have are cause for concern.
Seal was found by researchers with the Sea Turtle Conservancy while they were working in St. Joseph Bay. And while it is clear the injuries are not fresh, Seal still is on antibiotics to help fight any potential infections. Of possibly larger concern is Seal’s mobility. The first of the two injuries is deep, and might be impacting Seal’s rear flipper mobility. The flippers respond to touch, which is good. However, when they are not being stimulated, they rest very close to each other and do not move. This is, in fact, where the name “Seal” came from; with the two rear flippers constantly being tucked, the turtle resembles a seal.
It is still very early in Seal’s rehabilitation, and this case is going to be challenging. That being said, it is a positive sign that the rear flippers are still able to flex and move somewhat when stimulated. With active monitoring, the veterinary staff will determine the next course of treatment work on Seal’s flipper mobility.
Below is a photo of Seal’s injury site, viewed from the side.
A big thank you to the Sea Turtle Conservancy crew who rescued Seal, and FWC for providing transport.