MARATHON (CBSMiami) — “Good Hope”, a female hawksbill sea turtle that was airlifted from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Turtle Hospital in Marathon, unexpectedly died Tuesday morning.
The turtle was named after the beach in St. Croix where she was discovered severely injured after Tropical Storm Isaac brushed the Virgin Islands.
She was flown to the Turtle Hospital a month ago.
Hospital officials were surprised she had died and said she was responding to treatment, with improving blood tests and had been continuing to produce eggs.
During the necropsy, the veterinarian at the Turtle Hospital harvested 58 eggs which were added to incubators already accommodating 61 eggs that “Good Hope” laid on her own while convalescing at the hospital.
“Good Hope” was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair lower eyelids Tuesday morning, but when hospital staff arrived to begin preparations, they discovered her deceased. Instead Dr. Doug Mader removed the eggs so that hospital staff could incubate them nestled in beach sand shipped from St. Croix.
Mader said that short term cause of death was pneumonia, but that the reptile died from “overwhelming injuries” she had sustained likely after being entangled in fishing gear before being discovered on Good Hope Beach.
“Reptiles are strange creatures and (sometimes) when they start looking better, they crash,” Mader said. “We can only hope that some of her eggs hatch and carry her genes forward.”
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