Brevard Zoo set to release 2 rehabilitated sea turtles back into the wild Wednesday morning

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Juvenile green sea turtles Gorp and Peter Pan will be heading home to the ocean after several months of rehabilitation at the Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center for fishing-related injuries.

“Fishing line entanglement and ingestion is one of the worst things that a sea turtle or any wild animal can go through,” said Jess Patterson, Sea Turtle Healing Center coordinator. “It’s painful and it’s a slow death if they can’t get help.”


Gorp was brought the center on Aug. 31 after being found in Port Canaveral with fishing line wrapped around their neck, front flippers and back right flipper.

The damage done to Gorp’s left front flipper was so severe that the limb had to be amputated.

According to a news release, sea turtles can do very well in the ocean with only three flippers.

Gorp’s also had areas of tissue on his back right flipper that had begun to die, but using a fish skin graft Healing Center staff was able to save the flipper.

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Within a week, the necrosis had stopped, and despite some scar tissue, the limb is otherwise healthy and usable.

Gorp’s name was inspired by the date they arrived at our Healing Center – National Trail Mix Day. GORP is an acronym for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts,” another term for trail mix.

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Peter Pan was found in Jetty Park floating and struggling at the water’s surface by a bystander and was brought to the center on Oct. 24 with three hooks in their front flippers, one of which still had a lure on it.

This sea turtle’s name was inspired by the classic children’s story character.

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“Peter Pan was a character who was in an endless battle with a villain named Hook,” Patterson said. “I would say this Peter Pan has had plenty of interactions with such a villain in the ocean.”

Brevard Zoo will be releasing two sea turtle patients back to the ocean at 10 a.m. on Dec. 13 at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach and will be open to the public.

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