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Funding for surgical laser helps treat sea turtles for tumors

Sea Turtle License Plate
Posted at 11:06 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 11:06:45-04

SARASOTA, Fla.  — Sales of Sea Turtle license plates have helped fund a new laser to remove tumors from green sea turtles.

Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in Sarasota is one of the only sea turtle hospitals in Florida with the equipment to treat these kinds of tumors. Before acquiring the new laser, Mote’s staff was using equipment from 2007.

Flower-like tumor on green sea turtle.
Sea turtle with external epithelial tumor.

While the tumors that Mote’s staff remove from turtles aren’t necessarily fatal, the size of the tumor can obstruct a turtle’s vision and hinder its ability to swim, eat and escape from predators.

Since August of 2021, Mote’s staff has used the new laser to treat seven green sea turtles with ten surgeries.

You can follow patients’ recovery on Mote’s website.

To report a stranded sea turtle, call Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.