A view of the face of Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle. Her carapace was damaged by a severe boat strike in the British Virgin Islands
Injured Mature Female Green Sea Turtle Being Treated By Coral World Ocean And Reef Initiative
Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle, is shown with damage to her carapce from a severe boat strike.
The injuries to Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle, are extensive. She is shown here being treated for damage to her carapace.

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – April 15, 2024

Click HERE to download a PDF version of this Press Release.

 Coral World Ocean and Reef Initiative (CWORI) is pleased to announce the arrival of Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) to Coral World for veterinary care and rehabilitation on grounds. Puzzle sustained severe boat strike injuries to her carapace off the north coast of Virgin Gorda on February 21 and was transported to Canines, Cats, & Critters – BVI by the Association of Reef Keepers and the British Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for immediate veterinary intervention. 

 Our colleagues at Canines, Cats, & Critters – BVI and the Association of Reef Keepers worked tirelessly for seven weeks to provide the best care possible for Puzzle before she was moved to Coral World on April 12 for further treatment of her injuries. “Our veterinary team will complete comprehensive diagnostics to assess Puzzle’s current status and to determine an appropriate long-term treatment plan. While we are hopeful for a positive outcome, Puzzle has sustained catastrophic injuries and has a guarded prognosis” said Dr. Heidi Stout, Veterinarian at CWORI. “As a mature female, Puzzle is a valuable member of the resident green sea turtle population in the Virgin Islands. We hope that she can eventually return to local waters and reproduce, adding to the next generation of green sea turtles in the region” continued Dr. Sam Eliades, CWORI’s Director of Research and Conservation. 

The international transfer of Puzzle from Tortola to St. Thomas was made possible through tremendous collaboration and support between Canines, Cats, & Critters – BVI, the Association of Reef Keepers, the Government of the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and CWORI staff. Lee Kellar, President of CWORI stated “cases like this are partly why CWORI exists in the first place. Our mission is centered around conserving wildlife and animal rehabilitation is a major part of that. We will use every resource we can to help Puzzle recover.” Puzzle faces a long and challenging rehabilitation process ahead and CWORI will look to share status updates on this remarkable sea turtle throughout her journey! 

Coral World Ocean Park is the only approved Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility in the Virgin Islands.  Rescue and rehabilitation is now conducted and funded through Coral World Ocean and Reef Initiative.   

Donations are welcome.

Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle is seen here being transferred on a piece of foam from the British Virgin Islands to St. Thomas, VI.
Puzzle, a mature female green sea turtle, is being treated by veterinarians to repair her carapace.

About Coral World Ocean and Reef Initiative, Inc.

CWORI is a 501(c)(3) U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization.  CWORI is dedicated to conserving marine habitats and wildlife through rescue, rehabilitation, restoration, research, and empowering others with public education. Its emphasis is on combatting coral disease and restoring coral reefs, the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles and birds, and marine mammal research.  For more information visit www.cwori.org