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Sea turtle found shot with a spear off Key Largo

The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys had to do emergency surgery to remove the spear from the turtle.

KEY LARGO, Fla. — A 150-pound green sea turtle was found Saturday shot in the neck with a spear off Key Largo. 

The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys said this was the second sea turtle found this summer impaled with a spear. The first was found dead in June in Biscayne National Park. 

Now, authorities are looking for those responsible for injuring the green sea turtle named "Splinter."

The Turtle Hospital said it had to do emergency surgery to remove the spear. X-rays showed the spear went deeper than its neck -- it spanned more than half of the turtle's body.

With the three-foot spear removed, Splinter is stable at the Turtle Hospital. The spear was saved as evidence for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement team.

“It’s highly unlikely this was an accident as the turtle has an injury on its plastron that looks like someone tried to spear her on her underside.” Dr. Mader said. “The amazing team at the Turtle Hospital worked their magic to give this turtle a second chance. Now it is just a matter of healing before she can be released."

Sea turtles are a protected species in Florida and around the country. The Turtle Hospital's chairman, Richie Moretti, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 305-743-2552.

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