Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Undergoes Surgery at Clearwater Marine Aquarium


Hey there guys,

Today was my day off and I had just received an email from Anne this morning that the rescue team had to perform surgery on a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle named Rebel to remove a broken flipper that was unable to be saved. Based from X-ray exams, the staff learned that several bone fractures of Rebel’s were completely damaged. This made his left flipper completely dislocated as a result of an injury from a boat strike. As a result, the turtle rehabilitation team made a decision to perform surgery on him in order to save his life. However, it was only after an observation of the injury and a long discussion between three aquarium veterinarians, the decision was made to fully amputated the infected flipper due to the nature of the unhealthy look of the bones within the animal’s flipper. After a two-hour surgery, and an hour wake up, Rebel the sea turtle ended up becoming a “three-flippered turtle”. During this surgery, the entire front flipper was completely removed, almost up to the shoulder joint.

From what I am hearing from Anne, Rebel was docked in a dry area overnight and was returned to the water by the turtle rehab team this morning. But, they will still have to continue monitoring how he’s doing on a long term basis just to make sure that he is making a full recovery.

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