"Tiny" has flipper amputated thanks to beach trash

Published: Jul. 6, 2016 at 3:53 PM CDT
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Despite the fact several services attempt to pick up left over trash on Panama City Beach, it's something that will always be there.

"If it doesn't belong in the ocean definitely grab it, take it with you, and throw it in the trash," said John Curry, a Veterinarian Technician at Gulf World Marine Institute, "Just don't leave it out there."

According to Gulf World officials, a few weeks ago "Tiny" was brought in by the "South Walton Turtle Watch Group" after he was found swimming in the Gulf with a kite string wrapped around his backside flippers.

"It had sustained injuries to two of its flippers from the kite strong," said Curry. "We first tried cold laser therapy on the flippers, hoping that it would restart some circulation."

Cold laser therapy is a procedure veterinarians use to help tissue grow.

The therapy was successful for one flipper, but the other had to be amputated.

"Right after the surgery we did give Tiny medication for pain and antibiotics," said Curry. "He's doing well."

What was once Tiny's right flipper has been reduced to a nub.

"So far the surgery went great," said Curry. "The turtle is happy and healthy and swimming around wonderfully."

Curry said the next part of Tiny's rehabilitation will require him to dive.

During the summer months, Gulf World Marine Institute veterinarians said they typically rehabilitate more turtles.

Something as simple as picking up trash could be the difference between life and death of sea animals.

"It ends up in the oceans and then a lot of the times these turtles will ingest it or get wrapped up in it such as this case," said Curry. "And then we end up having to do surgery of some sort to help rehab them."

Despite the fact Tiny will be handicapped for the rest of his life, Gulf World Officials said they'll release him back into the Gulf once it's in tip-top shape.