Florida Sea Turtle Found with Wounds on Four Flippers Is Recovering After Partial Amputation

Heidi has some healing to do, and she has found a beautiful place to do it.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida, recently rescued a new resident. Heidi, an adult female Hawksbill sea turtle, joined the center after ending up on a St. Lucie beach with predation wounds on all four of her flippers.

Inwater Research Group, a group dedicated to conducting in-water assessments of marine turtles, contacted The Loggerhead Marinelife Center about Heidi. In response, the center's rehabilitation team took an ambulance out to St. Lucie and moved the turtle to their facility, where a medical exam revealed more details about Heidi's injuries.

"It was determined that her condition needed veterinary care. Upon early assessment, it was clear that Heidi sustained predation wounds on all four flippers. Following admission, she underwent surgery for partial amputation of her left rear flipper and will be followed closely by our hospital staff during therapy and rehabilitation," Dr. Max Polyak, the director of rehabilitation at the center, tells PEOPLE.

Following her operation, Heidi is doing "very well" and appears to be steadily recovering from her injuries. She is one of over a dozen turtles recuperating at the center, which was founded in 1983.

"Currently, Heidi is receiving integrative therapy, which is designed to accelerate her healing," Dr. Polyak says, adding that this therapy includes the use of acupuncture and medicinal honey to help heal her wounds.

Since Heidi is recovering quickly and seems to be adjusting to her amputation, the center is optimistic that she will be released back into the ocean once she is fully healed.

According to the center, if you find a sea turtle in Florida that appears in need of help, you should call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).

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