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 last week by guests at the Lime Tree Bay Resort on Long Key, an island in Florida, with a spear sticking out of his head and his front flipper entangled on fishing line.
Aubie was rushed to The Turtle Hospital in nearby Marathon, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the spear. A few days later after veterinarians noticed a shift in the animal’s behavior, 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.
“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,” said Bette Zirkelbach, The Turtle Hospital’s manager.
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.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement team is keeping 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.