By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Equinac
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal
Jose the turtle was found on Torre García beach in Almería, Spain by locals walking on the beach. Luckily they contacted Equinac - a nearby non-profit organisation who specialise in helping sea turtles and cetaceans on the coast.
Equinac volunteer Juan Cruz D’Amico said: “Jose was hit by a motor boat and a family who were walking on the beach saw him and called us. They thought Jose was dead because he wasn’t moving, but he was still breathing.
“His shell was split in half by a boat’s motor and so was his head - he also lost an eye in the accident.”
Jose’s horrific injuries left him unable to move or swim on his own but the Equinac team were able to stabilise him for further treatment by attaching metal bars to his shell to help it reform, and stitching up his eye to relieve the pain.
After being cared for by Equinac for two months, the lucky turtle was flown from Alicante to Palma de Gran Canaria - where he was taken to Tarifa del Cabildo for further care under the watchful eye of veterinarian Pascual Calabuig.
Juan said: “At the treatment centre they are focusing on treating his head. It’s very important the cicatrisation (healing through the formation of scar tissue) happens in that area. They are also helping to heal his shell using iron bars to help the scar tissue form quicker.
“When he was first picked up he was so weak with a big infection and necrosis in his wounds - both of them - and he didn’t have the energy or strength to move by himself. He started his recovery by doing very, very little steps each day.”
When he arrived at the second treatment centre Jose endured head surgery to fix his cranium and continues to have daily cleans to remove the dead skin from his wounds, which will help them heal faster.
D’Amico added: “In the Canary Islands he’s swimming in a big pool with sunlight and he’s eating well, but he’s still weak so he has to stay quiet in water for long periods of time, floating without moving.
“We want to release him one day but he has to get stronger and be able to defend himself in the wild. We think that may be in a year or two but all we can do is watch his progress right now.”