MARATHON, Fla. -- A veterinarian says that an egg-laden hawksbill sea turtle, airlifted from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital is in extremely guarded condition.
Dr. Doug Mader treated the 123-pound turtle Sunday. He said an ultrasound revealed more than 100 eggs, many which were viable, although he could not confirm if they were fertile.
Mader stressed the turtle’s condition was grave, but said he and other staff would do all they could to keep it alive because hawksbills are rare and classified as endangered.
Mader ultimately hopes to return the turtle and any hatchlings to St. Croix, where it was found in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. But if the turtle does not survive, he said, they would try to recover the eggs and hatch them in an incubator containing Virgin Islands’ beach sand.