Dr Rubin and the Equipo Tora Carey.
On June 13, Marlon, a key member of the ETC monitoring team, found a Hawksbill sea turtle (53 cm in length) while diving. The Hawksbill had been found a month prior with a fishing line constricting its left flipper. This prevented the sea turtle from moving properly. In addition, there was also a fishing line coming from its mouth. This indicated the presence of a hook, possibly in the throat.
Marlon was able to cut out the line that was wrapped around the flipper. However, he could not take out the hook. In a situation like this, it is best to take the turtle to a marine rescue center for a veterinary check-up. Marlon was not able to take the turtle out of the water on that occasion. Thankfully, on June 13 he spotted the Hawksbill again in the water and prepared to transfer the sea turtle to a rescue center.
Traveling to the rescue center
In 45 minutes, an expedition was organized to transport the sea turtle to the Parque Marino del Pacifico, Puntarenas. The Hawksbill turtle, now dubbed “Pirricho” after her rescuer’s nickname, seemed sluggish – the line had clearly done some damage. Thanks to the timely collaboration of Equipo Tora Carey and Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), by the time volunteers arrived in Puntarenas at 11:30 am, Dr. Esteban Rubin was prepared to examine the turtle.
Dr. Rubin examining Pirricho the Hawksbill
Dr. Rubin took an X-ray of the turtle’s head and throat. However, the hook wasn’t visible in the X-ray of her head – indicating that she may have swallowed it and it might be somewhere in her digestive system. This became an immediate concern. For the time being, the important thing is that she is alive, which means her organs are still intact.
Dr. Rubin examined the left flipper as well. Unfortunately, her left flipper was inflamed from the constriction of the line from a month ago, allowing bacteria to develop an infection in the bone. Luckily, there were no fractures. Hopefully, after an adequate treatment of vitamins and antibiotics, she will be able to recover her full mobility.
Waiting on the hook
The hook is still missing and is still a concern. The hook could prove dangerous if it damaged an internal organ. Dr. Rubin prescribed a dose of laxatives to expedite the hook’s digestion – hopefully it will pass through quickly and safely.