MARATHON (CBS4) – Wednesday will be a big day for a loggerhead sea turtle which was found earlier this year with a metal spear sticking out of its head.

Officials with the Turtle Hospital in Marathon say it has fully recovered from its injury and will be returned to the ocean tomorrow off the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge.

About two months ago, Nicholas Borg and his father were fishing off the Lower Keys when they saw the turtle struggling to come up for air with a 4-foot metal spear sticking out of its head. The Borgs recovered the turtle and Marathon-based Turtle Hospital staff took it back to their facility.

X-rays showed the spear going almost through the turtle’s head behind the eye and across the back of the throat in front of the glottis. Dr. Doug Mader, of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital, who volunteers as the Turtle Hospital vet, removed the spear by pushing it through an already existing exit hole where the spear had at some point come through the other side of the head. The spear was taken into evidence by law enforcement officials and the turtle was cared for by hospital staff.

Authorities have launched an investigation to find the guilty party that speared the turtle and the Keys community has committed more than $16,000 in cash for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party.

This month the Turtle Hospital is marking its 25th anniversary. It has treated more than 1,200 injured or sick turtles and released them back into the wild, as well as functioning as a nursery for thousands of baby sea turtles rescued from nests.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. James M Lyon says:

    the person that did this should have the same thing happen to him!!!

  2. BR Sumbich says:

    What a waste of resources it is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a friggin turtle while hundreds of thousands of Floridians live unemployed. below poverty, and really aren’t sure where their next meal comes from.

    Tragic for the turtle, they should prosecute the perp to the fullest extent of the law, but the turtle should have been put down.