GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Aquarium said the veterinary team is treating a critically ill and severely injured loggerhead sea turtle.

The turtle was caught on a fishing line last week at the Gulf State Park Fishing Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. She managed to escape. The turtle was captured again on October 7 and brought to the pier by rescuers.

According to officials at the aquarium, the turtle had multiple hooks and other fishing gear stuck in her flippers, shell, and mouth, a severely fractured shell and visible barnacles attached all over her body.

“Lyndsey Howell, NOAA’s Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network State Coordinator for Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, called Mississippi Aquarium for help as no other rehabilitation centers in the area were able to handle a turtle of her size,” Mississippi Aquarium Vice President of Veterinary Services Alexa Delaune said. “The Aquarium’s veterinary team drove to Gulf Shores to meet the rescuers and pick up the injured turtle to bring her back to our clinic for evaluation.”

Dr. Sean Perry was able to remove five hooks from the turtle’s limbs, mouth, and body. Delaune said the blood work conducted by Perry revealed underlying illnesses.

“The bloodwork showed the turtle is very anemic and has low protein. Dr. Perry suspects that the carapace injury is very old and likely due to a boat strike. Our veterinary team took x-rays of the sea turtle and found three additional hooks in the gastrointestinal tract. The turtle will require very long-term, intensive care and many procedures to address her medical issues,” said Delaune.

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