Brevard Zoo Sea Turtle Healing Center Sees First Influx of Sea Turtles in 2022

By  //  February 26, 2022

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As Brevard Zoo fundraised for their Sea Turtle Healing Center last week, their Healing Center experienced the first of what they believe to be many influxes of sea turtle patients. (Brevard Zoo image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – As Brevard Zoo fundraised for their Sea Turtle Healing Center last week, their Healing Center experienced the first of what they believe to be many influxes of sea turtle patients.

A veterinary nurse checks over a new sea turtle patient. Over a dozen patients made their way to our Healing Center to be cared for and stabilized between Feb. 13-19.

During a typical week, Brevard Zoo may see one or two patients. Not all the patients remain here – some unfortunately succumbed to their illnesses and injuries, while others are transferred to other facilities at the request of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make room for local patients at our Healing Center.

Upon arrival, new patients are assessed to ensure that more critical patients receive care first. With a large influx of sick sea turtle patients, Brevard Zoo’s veterinary and volunteer staff shift to an “all available hands on deck” protocol.

New patients receive a full veterinary exam, weight, wound treatment, morphometrics, bloodwork, radiographs, and medication.

This last week wasn’t quite as busy when compared to the influxes that typically happen in mid-March, said Shanon Gann, our Sea Turtle Healing Center manager.

Upon arrival, new patients are assessed to ensure that more critical patients receive care first. With a large influx of sick sea turtle patients, Brevard Zoo’s veterinary and volunteer staff shift to an “all available hands on deck” protocol. (Brevard Zoo image)

Although there’s no proven reason for these influxes, one theory is that these turtles experience cold waters in northern areas, weaken and then experience an over growth of algae and barnacles.

This influx comes a bit earlier in the year than we typically see. Brevard Zoo’s Healing Center has taken in 30 green sea turtles already this year, while in years past they’ve typically seen about 70 total sea turtles.

Brevard Zoo’s 30th sea turtle is a bit of a mystery right now. The turtle was found stranded in Cape Canaveral National Seashore on February 23. While they’re lethargic, they appear healthy otherwise so hopefully, it’s bloodwork will tell them more.

Another sea turtle of note from this latest group includes Prosecco, a subadult Kemp’s ridley found struggling to swim on February 18 in Indian River County. (Brevard Zoo image)

Another sea turtle of note from this latest group includes Prosecco, a subadult Kemp’s ridley found struggling to swim on February 18 in Indian River County.

A CT scan found that Prosecco might have a tear in their lung leaking air into their body cavity.

While Brevard Zoo’s veterinary staff has tried solving this issue with multiple blood patches, surgery may be in Prosecco’s future.

You can learn more about all of Brevard Zoo’s new patients here.