Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Laboratory staff released a very special sea turtle July 20, 2021. Asparagus, a green sea turtle and the Hospital’s 1st release of 2021, was outfitted with a satellite transmitter and released from the beach on the border of St Johns and Flagler counties.
Asparagus is a large juvenile green turtle that stranded on Flagler Beach March 10. She is currently our largest patient in the hospital. Asparagus had a thin body condition on arrival with 95% of carapace (shell) covered in epibiota (barnacles, brown algae, and green algae). During her initial examination, she showed moderate to severe pneumonia and Fibropapilloma (FP) tumors on her right eye, neck, front flippers, and both lower flipper regions. After weeks of intensive fluid therapy with vitamin supplements and a combination of antibiotics, her bloodwork and pneumonia started to improve.
Asparagus was then well enough to transport off site to Precision Imaging Center for CT scan. CT results showed her pneumonia was resolved and no signs of internal lesions. Asparagus had three FP tumor removal surgeries and did well in rehab. Asparagus is now tumor free has returned to her ocean home!
Tracking green turtles of Asparagus’ size, particularly during the winter months will provide important project data about where turtles of this size go in the winter and where they eat.