Hundreds of supporters cheered on August 3rd as Andre, a 177 pound green sea turtle, crawled into the water and swam out of sight. A year ago no one was predicting he could be saved.
In June 2010, Andre was found on a Juno Beach sandbar, his shell shattered by two different propellers. Associated Press reported, “More than three pounds of sand were inside him, along with at least a couple of crabs, a raging infection and a collapsed lung. His spinal cord was exposed, pneumonia was plaguing him and death seemed certain.”
Fortunately for Andre, help was a few miles away. The staff at Loggerhead Marinelife Center specialize in conserving threatened and endangered sea turtles. Loggerhead veterinarian Dr. Nancy Mettee and her team set to work on the immediate, life-threatening injuries.
Dr. Alberto Vargas, a Jupiter, Florida orthodontist heard about Andre and offered to see what he could do to mend the turtle’s shell. Just as he would do with a human patient, Dr. Vargas took molds of the shell and used them to create orthodontic appliances to gather together the shattered remnants of the carapace (upper part of the shell).
The plucky turtle’s determination to live won the hearts of all who worked to save him and all who heard his tale. So when Andre was returned to the sea and began swimming away, a cheer went up from the crowd.
The first video shows some of the creative and determined people who worked to save Andre. The second lets everyone share the joy of his release.
Sadly, Andre could not survive in the wild, but the extraordinary efforts to repair his shell brought out the best in all his human companions.
Originally published on Care2