Stranding Date: March 22, 2020
Stranding Location: M.B. Miller County Pier
Stranding Circumstances: unable to dive properly
On March 22, Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) received word of a loggerhead sea turtle that seemed to be in trouble. Local law enforcement who were on the M.B. Miller County pier reported that the turtle was floating to one side, and could not dive or swim well. GWMI staff contacted local beach and surf to request their help in rescuing the struggling turtle. Soon after, the loggerhead was safely in hand and on the way to rehabilitation.
Once brought to GWMI, Michonne received her first veterinary assessment. This included bloodwork, checking her vitals, and taking radiographs (X-ray images) to help see if she had internal problems. She was also covered in “epibiota” (the term used for all of the barnacles, algae, and other organisms living on her carapace). Those barnacles were very sharp, which helped earn her the name “Michonne” after the “The Walking Dead” character who carried a sword.
Once she was put into the water, her listing (leaning towards one side unnaturally) was obvious. Despite this, she does have a good appetite. At this time, Michonne is being treated with antibiotics and supportive care. She has also undergone a procedure to remove extra air from her body; this is to help reduce her unnatural floating.
Thank you to Panama City Beach and Surf and the responsible pier-goers for helping to rescue Michonne.