WAN Talks With Pelican Harbor Seabird Station About The Rescue Of Two Turtles Chained Together & Abused In Florida

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station (PHSS), a wildlife rescue service in Miami-Dade, Florida, recently saved two turtles that had been chained together and were stuck hanging in a Mangrove tree. The poor turtles had reportedly been suffering for weeks prior to being rescued.

After being alerted to the situation by a local kayaker at Oleta River State Park, the injured turtles were transported to the nonprofit wildlife center, where they were identified as a Peninsula Cooter and a Florida Red-bellied Cooter.

“While most of the human-caused reasons for injury seen at Pelican Harbor Seabird Station are unintentional, such as window strikes or vehicle collisions, it is not uncommon to find intentional cases of animal abuse,” PHSS shared in a post on its Facebook page. 

The poor turtles had holes drilled into the edge of their upper shells and illegible writing on the underside of their shells. Both of the freshwater turtles also displayed issues with buoyancy, an indicator of respiratory complications due to being in saltwater.

Upon admission, the turtles were unchained, given subcutaneous fluids, and placed in an oxygen chamber to decompress. Sadly, the Florida Red-Bellied Cooter’s passed away shortly after intake. The Peninsula Cooter was able to pull through and, after one month of care, was successfully released back into the wild.

“It’s unimaginable that human beings can commit such an act, but I am just glad that places like Pelican Harbor exist to provide these abused animals with the compassion and care they deserve,” Hannah McDougall, PHSS Director of Communications, told WAN, further explaining that the surviving  turtle was released on April 19th at a two-acre nature park and lake.

Shockingly, this is not the first time that PHSS has seen a case like this. In 2019, the wildlife center admitted a separate set of turtles who had also been chained together in a suspected religious ritual. Attached to the chain was a bag wrapped in ribbon and packed with cinnamon sticks, two red voodoo dolls, and two photos of a couple. Both of the turtles suffered from severe shell rot, as well as respiratory infections. One of the turtles, a Peninsula Cooter, was successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Sadly, its counterpart did not survive the ordeal.

According to McDougall, PHSS, which has cared for more than 40,000 animals since it was founded in 1980, has treated 26 Peninsula Cooters and seven Red-bellied Cooters.

As a nonprofit organization, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving work. Please consider donating to PHSS, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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