An endangered green sea turtle is recovering after being shot in the neck with a spear off the Florida Keys.
A boater found the 150-pound turtle in distress and entangled in black rope attached to a buoy near Key Largo on Saturday, Fox 35 Orlando reported.
“Splinter” underwent emergency surgery at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon to remove the spear, the station reported Tuesday.
Officials believe the spearing was a deliberate act.
“It’s highly unlikely this was an accident,” Turtle Hospital manager Bette Zirkelbach told the station.
Video posted on the hospital’s Facebook page Sunday shows Splinter swimming around in a small pool, the station reported.
“Splinter is active and looking good in water!” the post says. “Sub-adult green sea turtle one day post spear removal at the Turtle Hospital!”
A $ 5,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to the culprit.
“No words for this horrific act,” the hospital posted on Facebook on Saturday. “All species of sea turtles in and around the United States are protected by Federal and State Laws. It is a felony to touch or harm a sea turtle in the United States.”
The turtle will likely be released back into the ocean after she fully recovers, Fox 35 reported.