150-pound sea turtle euthanized after boat smashed shell, injuring spinal cord


Hawaii DLNR

KAUAI, Hawaii (WFLA) – A 150-pound sea turtle had to be euthanized after a propeller on a high-speed boat shattered its shell and injured its spinal cord, Hawaii officials said.

The Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources wrote about the turtle on its Facebook page on Friday, saying it was the 22nd turtle injured by boats since March – a worrying number.

“Unfortunately, most sea turtles struck by boats do not survive,” the publications say. “This year, only one turtle was sent to the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute for Rehabilitation before being released into the ocean to live another day.”

This turtle was reportedly struck at Māhāʻulepū, Gillins Beach on the island of Kauai. She was transported to O’ahu to be examined by veterinarians specializing in turtles, in the hopes that she could survive her injuries and one day return to the wild.

When Shandell Brunson, NOAA’s sea turtle stranding coordinator, arrived with the turtle at the vet clinic, she was barely moving. NOAA vet Dr Gregg Levine transported him to an examination room, where he noted a few obvious injuries: a large injury that exposed a large part of the lungs and damage to the spinal cord.

Additionally, Levine said the turtle’s fins were hyper-stretched and not motile, further indicating damage to the spinal cord.

Given the severity of the trauma to the shell and the apparent injury to the spinal cord, doctors made the decision to humanely euthanize the turtle.

“Whatever the outcome, far too many turtles are struck by boats and other vessels. We need everyone to slow down and be careful, ”said Ed Underwood, Director of the DLNR Ocean Boating and Recreation Division (DOBOR). “Clearly not all sea fans get the message and many probably don’t even know they’ve run into a turtle because they’re going to fast or not pay attention to what’s going on in the water that’s going on. surround them. ”

Authorities say many turtle boat collisions occur in relatively shallow water, typically in or near small craft harbors and boat launching ramps where speed limits and no-go zones are found. wake are in effect.

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