Juno Beach, FL – On Wednesday, June 23, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) released its longest-term patient to date, a sub-adult green sea turtle named Topsy. Topsy first arrived at the Center on December 18, 2018 after sustaining boat strike trauma to its carapace and being rescued by U.S. Coast Guard personnel from offshore. Two years later, the sea turtle patient was deemed healthy for release by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and LMC veterinarians.
Upon discovery, the patient was in great distress and unable to dive or stay underwater due to injuries associated with unintentional boat strikes. Additionally, its blood work revealed a systemic infection and hypoglycemia, which were treated. In addition, it received daily wound care.
All in all, this sea turtle’s recovery is unique in every way. Topsy is the first to receive an Inconel implant to correct its buoyancy disorder. Although the innovative procedure was not a total success, it provided LMC’s rehabilitation team with unique insight to treat other patients with similar conditions and to strengthen chances of more successful releases. Topsy also received advanced CT imaging thanks to the medical staff at Jupiter Medical Center, providing greater understanding on the pathology of diseases in sea turtles. Moreover, the sea turtle offered new antimicrobial approaches to infection, tissue healing and understanding about chronic stress in sea turtles.
“While two years is a considerable stay, Topsy’s clinical course offered unique insights into the medical management of a complicated case,” said LMC Director of Rehabilitation, Dr. Max Polyak. “What we’ve learned from Topsy’s health journey will add significantly to our approach in treating similar injuries and disease in future patients.”
In its recovery, Topsy’s buoyancy disorder was temporarily alleviated with a lead weight attached to its carapace, which was regularly assessed and refined. After over two years of time, the turtle was finally able to swim without additional weight. In that same time frame, the patient’s other conditions were successfully treated and the turtle was medically cleared for release.
Topsy has been released behind the Center on Juno Beach, FL. The Hospital staff and its partners are keeping a watchful eye to ensure that the sea turtle continues to successfully assimilate into its ocean home.
Wish Topsy well! For more information on current or previous patients, please visit marinelife.org.
Loggerhead Marinelife CenterLoggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 350,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. When complete, the facility will offer one of the world’s most advanced and unique experiences for guests and scientific partners. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.
Lauren Eissey, Public Relations and Engagement Specialist
Additional photos available upon request.