TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 170-pound sea turtle was found with a spear through its head on rocks near a resort in the Florida Keys.
The turtle, “Aubie,” was discovered by guests at the Lime Tree Bay Resort on Long Key last week with a spear sticking out of his head and his front flipper entangled on fishing line.
Aubie was rushed to The Turtle Hospital where emergency surgery was performed to remove the spear lodged in his skull.
After veterinarians noticed a shift in the animal’s behavior a few days later, a CT scan was done, revealing the spear had pierced his brain, causing irreparable neurological issues.
The vets humanely euthanized the turtle due to the damage.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who harmed the animal. Due to the endangerment of sea turtles, the suspect could face criminal charges resulting in large fines or time in prison.
“This does not appear to be an accident as the turtle has an injury in the same location as a previous case of a loggerhead turtle speared in the head. This has the signs of malicious intent,” The Turtle Hospital’s manager, Bette Zirkelbach said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement team is saving the spear as evidence.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call The Turtle Hospital at 305-743-2552. Callers can remain anonymous.