Sea turtle found with spear through its neck in the Florida Keys


Turtle found with 3-ft spear through its neck

MARATHON, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) - A sea turtle is recovering after it was discovered off Key Largo with a 3-ft spear through its neck.

Veterinarians at The Turtle Hospital treated the animal.

"The good news is the turtle has been named Splinter by the rescuers and is alive today and in surprisingly good condition," said Bette Zirkelbach with The Turtle Hospital.

Zirkelbach says based on another injury underneath the turtle, it looks like someone intentionally lodged the spear through the turtle’s neck.

“They must have tried to spear it from underneath and then went for the neck when it didn’t work, so it does not look like an accident,” Zirkelbach said.

She estimates the turtle has been living with the spear in its neck for at least a month.

"A lot of necrotic tissue has grown around it, and there was what we call granuloma on the neck from the spear rubbing when the turtle moves its head," she said.

While veterinarians work to heal Splinter, wildlife officials are working to find the person responsible.

"It's the second case in close proximity to where a green sea turtle has been speared. The first was in June in Biscayne Bay there in Miami. Unfortunately, that turtle was dead. It had a spear in its head," Zirkelbach said.

Those with The Turtle Hospital hope to bring awareness to the incidents and stop predatory behavior against sea turtles.

"It's important to put a stop to this, so we are trying to get as much information out there and educate people," Zirkelbach said.

There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who injured the turtle.

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