Turtle Elena is a magnificent example of a Green Sea Turtle – an extraordinary, magical species. Sadly, they are also on the critically endangered list. When Elena, a 40lb, adolescent, Green Sea Turtle was found beached at Florida West, she was in a critical state. Elena had a shocking and life-threatening, ten-inch split in her shell, probably caused by a close encounter with a boat. For days, it was touch and go whether she would live.
After a month of administering antibiotics, vitamins and daily feeding through a tube, Turtle Elena began to show slow signs of recovery. But for the staff At Florida Keys Turtle Hospital, there was a major challenge. How to effectively repair Elena’s shell, and nurse this beautiful, mysterious creature back to full health, so that one day she can be returned to her wild, watery habitat.
The staff at the hospital came up with an ingenious solution. They called in local dentist, Fred Toxal. “The hospital had tried various substances to try and bond to the shell, but nothing was working. So they asked me to figure out what materials might do the trick,” explains Fred. Troxel came up with the idea of using a denture repair adhesive, an acrylic resin, which was successfully applied by Fred to hold two orthopedic plates tightly across the fracture.
“Modern dentistry is about bonding restorative materials to teeth, which are organic substances,” says Fred. “In this case we used the dental resin to bond a mechanical device to the turtle shell, which is also an organic material.”
The great news is that Elena is on the road to recovery. She began to eat again, unaided, earlier this week, and the hospital manager, Bette Zirkelbach, is optimistic that Elena will one day be released back into the ocean.
Ethical Hedonist will be keeping in touch with the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital and bringing you news on Elena’s progress.
For further information on the Turtle Hospital, visit www.turtlehospital.org
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk