Fri, Nov 09, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Sea turtle recovers from head injuries

KEEL STRIKE?Penghu Animal Disease and Prevention Center Director Kuo Cheng-jen said that the green sea turtle had a fractured skull and hemorrhaging of the eyes

By Liu Yu-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A worker holds a green sea turtle that has been treated for head injuries at the Penghu Animal Disease and Prevention Center on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of Penghu Animal Disease and Prevention Center

A green sea turtle has recovered from severe head injuries and is being assessed as to whether it can be returned to the wild after it was taken to the Penghu County Marine Biology Research Center in late September.

A fisherman took the turtle to the center after finding it injured and floating near the shore in Siyu Island (西嶼) in Penghu County.

The center contracted Penghu Animal Disease and Prevention Center Director Kuo Cheng-jen (郭仁政) to give a diagnosis.

The turtle had severe lacerations to the head, possibly being injured by a boat’s keel, Kuo said.

The skull was fractured, while the eyes showed signs of ophthalmorrhagia, Kuo said, adding that the animal was in a bad state.

Kuo said he cleaned the wounds and performed surgeries, after which it showed signs of improvement.

After swelling diminished, the turtle’s nervous system kicked in, causing it to disgorge nylon and other items, he said.

This showed that it was greatly affected by human waste, particularly plastic items in the ocean, Kuo said.

“This should be a warning over how human waste is affecting other species,” he said.

The center said it was to conduct further assessments on whether the turtle is fit to be returned to the wild.

The islands of Penghu are a natural habitat for five turtle species: the green sea turtle, the olive ridley sea turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle and the leatherback sea turtle.

Green sea turtles are the most populous in the area. It is listed as a conserved species in Taiwan, prompting Penghu County to establish the Treatment Center for Injured and Sick Sea Turtles.

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