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A Year After Boats Shatter His Shell, Turtle Swims Free

A Year After Boats Shatter His Shell, Turtle Swims Free

Editorís note:†This post is a Care2 favorite. 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 following video†lets everyone share the joy of Andre’s release.

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Photo from Reemul via Flickr Creative Commons

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809 comments

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5:14AM PDT on May 29, 2015

Gosh - what a tragic ending to a hopeful story.

3:38AM PDT on May 29, 2015

This might have happened a few years ago now, but this sort of story never grows old. Absolutely beautiful; thanks for sharing and bumping!

4:35PM PDT on May 28, 2015

A year's worth of loving care and repair ... for a mere three weeks of freedom speaks volumes.

Love and stewardship are still alive in those with a heartbeat, big enough to share when needs present. Sad to have ended this way.

1:08PM PDT on May 28, 2015

This is one of the few times it would have been better to keep Andre at the marine center, instead of returning him to the ocean. So sad that he died after only 3 weeks of freedom. Still, the people involved did a wonderful thing.

10:56AM PDT on May 28, 2015

Comment by Lori H: and once again, I have to ask as I have several times, WHY is Care2 still running this story without the sad update? This turtle DIED 3 weeks later! Geez! Such irresponsible reporting on this site.

REPEAT: THE POOR THING DIED 3 WEEKS LATER. I believe I posted links to the "rest of the story" in at least one of my other comments."

10:53AM PDT on May 28, 2015

Felicito a los veterinarios que salvaron a la tortuga,es una tarea maravillosa la que hacen

10:17AM PDT on May 28, 2015

Wonderful news!

9:17AM PDT on May 28, 2015

Thank for such an encouraging video. God bless you for all the hard work

9:15AM PDT on May 28, 2015

WHY is a story with an actual Sad ending being re-run?? This should be investigated
Unfair to those who are not aware.
Check comments from Lori H......

8:31AM PDT on May 28, 2015

Fantastic news!

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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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