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CROW Update: Osprey succumbs to injuries

By Staff | Apr 24, 2015

Osprey2: CROW hospital director Heather Barron and vet assistant Melissa Fox stretch the osprey's wing before its X-Rays Friday. (PHOTO BY BRIAN WIERIMA)

(This article has been updated on Monday, April 27)

Two new patients arrived in “grave” condition at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation for Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel during the week of April 20-25.

A male osprey found high in a tree in Bokeelia entangled in fishing line, was transferred to CROW Thursday evening, with soft tissue injuries to its wings, legs and toes. It was found out Friday during an exam, that its right hip is dislocated and the prognosis is considered “grave” and has only a 20-percent chance to make it back to the wild.

But the osprey didn’t survive its injuries, passing away late Friday afternoon.

Just a bit earlier in the week, a distressed and injured adult female Loggerhead sea turtle was also brought into CROW Tuesday, April 21, with a fractured shell caused by a boat strike.

The osprey which was found entangled in a tree in Bokeelia, was transferred to CROW on Sanibel to receive rehab for its injuries. CROW vet assistant Melissa Fox positions the osprey to ready it for X-Rays Friday. (Photo by BRIAN WIERIMA)

Her timetable is unknown, but also is considered “grave” and will take months to recover.

The osprey in Bokeelia was tangled upside down in fishing line for at least 24 hours, when finally it was rescued after an employee with Genesis Tree Service was able to cut the plastic or wire, thus freeing the bird.

“He came in here, and was basically very weak and depressed,” said CROW vet intern Molly Lien. “He was in shock and was worn out.”

The osprey couldn’t stand or perch after his arrival, so the first night at CROW he was given medication, fluids and nutrition.

“We just tried to keep him calm and lower his stress level,” Lien said.

Osprey3: The osprey, which was found in Bokeelia tangled in a tree, is put under before its X-Rays at CROW Friday. (PHOTO BY BRIAN WIERIMA) CROW vet assistant Melissa Fox and vet intern Molly Lien, measure the loggerhead sea turtle, which was brought into CROW Tuesday, April 21, with injuries from a boat strike. The sea turtle was found in the Everglades National Park in Collier County and survived for weeks after being struck by a boat propeller. (PHOTO BY KENNY HOWELL, CROW)

After Friday’s exam and X-Rays, the osprey was found to have suffered a dislocated hip, which is a serious injury and complicated to fix. The CROW staff was hoping the age of the osprey (one year) was on her side and help heal it quickly.

But the osprey’s injuries and shock of being tangled for over 24 hours was too much for it, unfortunately.

The timetable for the adult female Loggerhead sea turtle is also in question, after she suffered two major fractures of its shell. Although the good news is that none of the shell pieces penetrated her inner-cavity, the amount of time she spent out in the wild with the injuries took a vital toll on her.

“She had lots of barnacles and algae attached to the shell, which means she has been sick for awhile,” Lien said. “Her injuries were not that bad, because it didn’t do any damage to her internal organs. But she is so weak and has been without food for so long, that is the major concern now.”

The sea turtle is undergoing total parenteral nutrition therapy, which transports fats and proteins through an I.V. into her veins, instead of going through the gut.

The female adult loggerhead will have months of rehabilitation at CROW after suffering a fractured shell after being hit by a boat in the Everglades National Park. (PHOTO BY KENNY HOWELL, CROW)

“It’s shown to be more effective, especially if she is that weak and depressed,” Lien said. “She will be on the TPN therapy for weeks and we also need to rehydrate her.”

The adult sea turtle weighed in at 120 pounds and is 80-centimeters long and 65-centimeters wide. An eight-inch by four to five-inch chunk of shell was removed right above her tail, while another piece will be worked on right above her right back flipper, when she regains more strength.

The CROW staff also has to strap her into a lift system when she is in the water tank.

“Ideally she would be in water, but she is so weak and sick, she can’t keep her head up, so she can’t get her head above water and breath,” Lien said. “So we have her on a lift system, made of PVC pipes, to tilt her head up, which helps keep her head above the water.

“We also have a sprinkler system, and misting water on her. At night, we dry dock her and keep her in damp towels, while during the day, she goes back into water.”

The sea turtle’s prognosis is still “grave”, but if the CROW team can get her back into a stable state, they can start measuring her progress.

“She is so beautiful and we are all hoping she can pull through this,” Lien added.

To report and injured animal or to contact CROW, call 239-472-3644.