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A Year After Boats Shatter His Shell, Turtle Swims Free

A Year After Boats Shatter His Shell, Turtle Swims Free

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on August 4, 2011. Enjoy!

Hundreds of supporters cheered on August 3rd as Andre, a 177 pound green sea turtle, crawled into the water and swam out of sight. A year ago no one was predicting he could be saved.

In June 2010, Andre was found on a Juno Beach sandbar, his shell shattered by two different propellers. Associated Press reported, “More than three pounds of sand were inside him, along with at least a couple of crabs, a raging infection and a collapsed lung. His spinal cord was exposed, pneumonia was plaguing him and death seemed certain.”

Fortunately for Andre, help was a few miles away. The staff at Loggerhead Marinelife Center specialize in conserving threatened and endangered sea turtles. Loggerhead veterinarian Dr. Nancy Mettee and her team set to work on the immediate, life-threatening injuries.

Dr. Alberto Vargas, a Jupiter, Florida orthodontist heard about Andre and offered to see what he could do to mend the turtle’s shell. Just as he would do with a human patient, Dr. Vargas took molds of the shell and used them to create orthodontic appliances to gather together the shattered remnants of the carapace (upper part of the shell).

The plucky turtle’s determination to live won the hearts of all who worked to save him and all who heard his tale. So when Andre was returned to the sea and began swimming away, a cheer went up from the crowd.

The first video shows some of the creative and determined people who worked to save Andre. The second lets everyone share the joy of his release.

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Photo from Reemul via Flickr Creative Commons

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11:00AM PDT on Oct 31, 2013


11:10AM PDT on Oct 5, 2013

Agree he should never have been released. Sad.

5:26AM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

I appreciate the positive story. encouraging

7:01AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Who says he never survived?

11:51PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Thanks for the good news Cathryn :)

3:43PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Seemed hopeful, maybe a sanctuary would have been the best for Andre. Thanks to all who had a part in this.

2:38PM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

Sorry that he did not make it...but happy there are people that are trying to help. It was also good to see such a crowd that came for his shows people are understanding and caring about these turtles. The more exposure, the better.

8:55AM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

It is sad that he did not make it. Wish he had been cared for at a shelter.

1:11PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013


12:50PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

should have kept him safe.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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