Welcome Home to Seafoam and Gene Johnson

Welcome Home to Seafoam and Gene Johnson

Published: Monday, August 13, 2018

Seafoam and Gene Johnson, patients of the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratory, were released back home to the Atlantic Ocean on August 14, 2018. A crowd of people attended to wish Seafoam and Gene Johnson well on their journey home. 

Seafoam is a juvenile green sea turtle that was found stranded on Marineland Beach on February 23, 2018. The turtle was thin and covered with epibiota (organisms that live on turtles), including many marine leeches. Seafoam was very anemic, which was caused by the many leeches. Seafoam’s compromised immune system, a common side effect of poor nutrition and weight loss, also meant that abscesses or infection had formed on the carapace (top shell). Once Seafoam started eating, the red cell count improved greatly and the abscesses on the shell started to heal. Seafoam also had fibropapillomatosis, a tumor-causing disease in which we specialize in here at the hospital. Luckily, Seafoam had a very mild tumor load, and we were able to remove all of the tumors in one surgery. Seafoam was named by our fans on Facebook. 

Gene Johnson is a juvenile green sea turtle found floating and lethargic in the creek along Gene Johnson Road, just north of Whitney Laboratory in Summer Haven on June 7, 2018. Locally, Gene Johnson was a successful, African-American businessman who owned a restaurant in Summer Haven from 1936 until the 1970s. It is said that he was a very funny and charismatic man. His namesake, Gene Johnson the turtle, is just the same! Gene Johnson the turtle arrived at the hospital thin, anemic (covered in marine leeches), and with a few fibropapilloma tumors. Gene has had a very speedy recovery, and after regenerating red blood cells quickly, the turtle only needed one tumor removal surgery to get rid of all the FP tumors.

Thank you to everyone who attended the sea turtle release!