SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A sea turtle that was bitten by a shark is on the mend at a new South Florida facility specialized in caring for the marine reptiles.
The grand opening of Zoo Miami’s new Sea Turtle Hospital is not until next week, but the staff had to get to work several days early after Baymax was brought to them.
Baymax, a nearly 400-pound female loggerhead, was rescued from the Port Saint Lucie power plant with several injuries, including an apparent shark bite.
“She was transported to us from the Loggerhead Marine Life Center ambulance,” said Dr. Marisa Bezjian, an associate veterinarian at Zoo Miami. “When she came to us, she was alert, and she’s in great body condition. She just had this open wound that needed surgical attention.”
After closer examination, it was discovered Baymax was pregnant.
On Monday, the turtle was successfully transported from a special recovery center to a sand-filled pen in the hopes of depositing the eggs.
“Slowly, she released over that day probably about close to 100 eggs,” said Bezjian. “All the eggs were collected, and we were working closely with the Miami-Dade Parks Conservation Program that does all the beach surveys, so they have been coming daily to take the eggs to make man-made nests at the beach in hopes that these little eggs might actually hatch out.”
Officials prepared Baymax for surgery with the purpose of removing the damaged bone and providing the 50-year-old reptile with a path toward recovery.
After several hours of surgery, the procedure was a success. Baymax will be transferred back to her tank and monitored closely in the upcoming weeks.
With Baymax being the first sea turtle admitted into the new hospital, it only increases the staff’s excitement about treating more turtles.
“We are excited to be able to be a sea turtle hospital here in Miami-Dade County, because there are not many,” said Bezjian. “There are a few north of us and to the south of us, but in this area of Florida, there is a need for a sea turtle hospital, so we are excited to be able to fill that void.”
Despite the hospital not having its ribbon-cutting ceremony until next week, it passed all inspections and had its permits in order to treat the turtle.
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