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In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, the hands of veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader ultrasound the front right flipper of an endangered hawksbill sea turtle at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in Marathon, Fla. The female reptile, laden with eggs, was discovered on a St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands beach Aug. 24, just after Tropical Storm Isaac brushed the Virgin Islands. By the extent of her injuries, wildlife officials believe she was repeatedly gaffed by a fisherman .
MARATHON, Fla.—A veterinarian says that an egg-laden hawksbill sea turtle, airlifted from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital is in extremely guarded condition.
Dr. Doug Mader treated the 123-pound turtle Sunday. He said an ultrasound revealed more than 100 eggs, many which were viable, although he could not confirm if they were fertile.
Mader stressed the turtle's condition was grave, but said he and other staff would do all they could to keep it alive because hawksbills are rare and classified as endangered.
Mader ultimately hopes to return the turtle and any hatchlings to St. Croix, where it was found in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. But if the turtle does not survive, he said, they would try to recover the eggs and hatch them in an incubator containing Virgin Islands' beach sand.