Last night we were thrilled to encounter a girl that hasn’t been around for a while. She’s also the biggest turtle we’ve ever encountered! Tagged back in 2005 and seen again in 2007, she’s been absent for 9 years. When originally tagged, she had some pretty horrific injuries from a recent boat strike. The propeller has sliced her rear flipper, carapace, shoulder, and front flipper. The front flipper was nearly severed. The bones were protruding and the end of the flipper was hanging on by only a small amount of tissue. The images below show the severity of the damage.
Surprisingly, leatherbacks are able to heal remarkably well from injuries like these. We have seen full flipper amputations that have healed completely. They are incredible animals! We’re happy to report that she has healed completely and the only remaining sign of the propeller interaction is a missing part of the front flipper that is now much more stable. Even more important – at 176.5cm (CCLst) long and 122cm (CCW) she is the biggest turtle our team has ever encountered! That’s a carapace length of almost 6′ long and a width of 4′. She was definitely impressive.
Leatherback sea turtle injury images on this page by www.floridaleatherbacks.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.