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Hawksbill sea turtle survives surgery, may return to sea

Nov 23. 2017
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By Khanittha Sitong
The Nation

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A three-legged hawksbill sea turtle that had swallowed a fishing hook has been saved by a veterinarian team from Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya’s (RMUTSV) Trang Campus and was expected to recover after surgery.

It may be released back to the sea if it continues to heal.

A fisherman brought the two-year-old female turtle to a veterinarian in Sikao district on November 9 for life-saving treatment. A lack of local equipment forced the vet to forward the turtle to the university to remove a two-inch-long hook from its stomach on November 15, said the campus’s aquarium veterinarian, Nattiya Sangsiri.

The turtle is now recovering at the facility and was able to eat, swim and discharge normally. It requires the removal of stitching thread in 1-2 weeks before being able to dive, she said.

The vet team would assess the rare turtle in another four months to see if it could be released back to the sea, she said.

The turtle’s front left leg may have been severed recently from entanglement in a fishing net, Nattiya added. Its body was covered in barnacles because the lack of a fourth leg slowed its movements. 

It was a second major blow for the creature when it ate fish bait and swallowed the hook, she said.

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