According to a nonprofit Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, a green sea turtle was found with a 3-foot-long spear in its neck and rescued by the experienced staff.
Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach told CNN affiliate WPEC that the 150-pound, sub-adult turtle, christened Splinter, was taken into surgery, and the spear was removed.
X-rays revealed that the large stick spanned more than half the turtle’s body.
All species of sea turtles are now threatened or listed as endangered. They are protected under the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Act.
Splinter is spear free!! Post surgery at the Turtle Hospital!
Posted by The Turtle Hospital on Saturday, September 7, 2019
The World Wildlife Fund says, “Human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear.”
A day after his rescue, Splinter was “active and looking good in water,” the hospital said.
Splinter is active and looking good in water! Sub-adult green sea turtle one day post spear removal at the Turtle Hospital!
Posted by The Turtle Hospital on Sunday, September 8, 2019
This is not the first such incident harming sea turtles. Earlier this month, a woman reported finding sea turtle eggs and hatchlings that had been burned at Satellite Beach, Florida, according to CNN affiliate WKMG.
“There was firewood next to all the turtles,” the woman told the station.
An agency spokeswoman told WPEC that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating this case and seeking tips.
In June, a dead sea turtle was found with a spear shaft through its head in a Florida national park. The Biscayne National Park had, at the time, called on the public for any information about the turtle, according to its Facebook post. That same month saw the arrest of a woman in Miami Beach who was seen stomping on a sea turtle nest, police said.