An endangered and pregnant sea turtle in “extremely guarded condition” is being treated in the Florida Keys after it was airlifted from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Florida Keys News Bureau announced.
The 123-pound Hawksbill sea turtle was found in St. Croix with deep shoulder wounds, possibly caused by fishing gear. It was likely washed ashore on during Tropical Storm Isaac.
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"She's in pretty rough shape," said Dr. Doug Mader, a veterinarian for the Turtle Hospital. "She's got some pretty severe injuries. She's got some drowning injuries and fluid in her lungs.”
Mader said the animal, which has more than 100 viable eggs, is currently on antibiotics and fluids.
"If we can get her through the next 48 hours or so, we got a pretty good chance of saving her, and our goal is to first save her because she's future eggs and future generations and if we can't save her, then we'll do an emergency C-section to save the eggs inside,” he said.
The turtle was treated for a week in St. Croix and then flown to the Florida Keys on a flight donated by American Airlines.
"Trying to keep things positive,” Mader said. “If we can pull her through this and she lays the eggs, we can get the eggs to hatch, she will go back to her home in St. Croix and the babies will be laid and hatched in sand that we brought with us from St. Croix. So we will send them back the same day that they hatch out and they'll be released and hopefully we'll have a happy end to this story."