Sea turtle released after 14-month rehab for broken shell
Andre, shown here in March, was released into the ocean Wednesday after 14 months of treatment.
August 4th, 2011
05:20 PM ET

Sea turtle released after 14-month rehab for broken shell

A marine conservation center in Florida has repaired an injured sea turtle's shell with materials used in human orthodontia and  released it back into the ocean Wednesday.

Beachgoers in Juno Beach, Florida, discovered a green sea turtle on Father's Day of 2010. "Andre" was floating close to shore with two gaping injuries from boat propellers in his shell. One wound exposed his spinal cord while the other had filled with three pounds of sand and was badly infected, said Melissa Ranly, hospital coordinator at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Ranly said she "got in the turtle ambulance" to bring Andre in to the center.

Despite the severity of his injuries, which also included a collapsed lung, Andre was not acting like an animal that was ready to die, Ranly said.

"Even from the time we got him in the sling and in the ambulance that day, we saw that he had a kind of energy to him that we didn't expect," Ranly said. "We just noted that this turtle was strong. Even though he had these really severe wounds, he just had this life about him and was in it for the long haul."

Andre's unusual tenacity called for some unusual veterinary care, Ranly said. The center borrowed a negative pressure wound vacuum to clean out the newer, sand-filled injury and re-inflate Andre's lung. Once the injuries inside the shell were healed, the veterinary team sought to fix the damage to the shell. They contacted an orthodontist, who used palate expanders to position Andre's shell so that it would heal.

As Andre regained his strength over the past year, he attracted a large following of fans who would monitor his progress in person or via a webcam, Ranly said. Many of Andre's  supporters went to see him released into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.

"Because he had so many obstacles to overcome, I think people really embraced the story," Ranly said.

Ranly said injuries like Andre's are relatively common in South Florida, where there is heavy boat traffic. The way to avoid them, she said, is to operate boats at a slow enough speed that turtles surfacing for air will have time to dive out of the boat's way.

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Filed under: Animals • Florida • Turtles • U.S.
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. NO. WAY.

    I know banasy longer than you or fernace, I can sense that she is jealous of her.(Personal feeling). Fernace, I didn't say I don't like your posts I just feel like there's a little rivalry, maybe I'm wrong. To be like banasy you have to be born with it. Her class gives these blogs a reason to visit. All other posters including the animal of Joe and me are ordinary compared to her.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jacob

      Coolcent. c o m

      August 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CSnSC

    *facepalm* ass whole

    August 4, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    It's all good, NO WAY.
    Fernace is good people.
    There's no rivalry between any poster and myself. 🙂

    I'm glad the sea turtle is doing good.
    They are awesome to behold!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rox731

    I was following this story from the beginning. Andre also had his spine showing from under this broken shell. Poor thing has been through so much. Love happy endings.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HIKER

    @ NO. WAY. ... Dude, the mind is a terrible thing to waste! LMAO your delusions about fernace is beyond funny, it's down right SCARY! Everyone is good with each other, now STOP looking at the light and go to bed!

    August 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    NO WAY, this is my last communication with you! I think my friend Joey is right, you're a n.a.s.ty troll trying to stir up s.h.i.t! Have at it, I'm not playing along, as you can see my friends aren't either!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    To all my blog buds, thanks for having my back, y'all! Even though we can't see eachother I have a sense of community because of people like y'all! I think you are the kind of people who would save a turtle! Blog hug ((((hug))))!!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HIKER

    Blog ((((HUG)))) back atcha Buddy

    August 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mmmmm

    Sea turtle should have been released to a large pot for soup.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ajd041

    Good for that turtle! Unless an injury like this happens again he'll probably outlive most of us...

    August 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jerry

    amazing we take so much specail care to a turtle because it has a broken shell, and yet we KILL unborn babies off in the name of convenience in the thousands each day sad sad sad

    August 5, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. mygrandsonsapuppy

    Good for you, Jerry! Thanks for being a REAL man and standing up for the unborn babies!

    August 5, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ fernace:
    A big hug back to you. You are a talented, special person and full of goodness.

    August 5, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ms. Banasy

    You are one-in-a-million, and I love ya, too!

    August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ms. Banasy

    Plus, I adore your name.

    August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
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