By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans

THIS sea turtle was almost split in half by a motor boat propeller - but local rescuers managed to bring him back from the brink of death

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Videographer / director: Equinac
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal

When a family found Jose washed up on the beach they thought he was dead

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.

But Jose was a fighter and he clung to life as Equinac rescuers rushed to save him

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.

Only about 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles will make it to adulthood

“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.

Oil spills, habitat loss and getting entangled in human debris like plastic all put sea turtles at risk

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.

When he first arrived at Equinac Jose was unable to move or swim on his own

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.

The turtle also had a severe infection in the wounds on his shell and head

“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.”

Rescuers stabilised his injuries with metal bars and screws to assist the healing process

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.

After two months at Equinac, he was transferred to a treatment centre on Gran Canaria for more expert help

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.

At the second centre Jose had an operation to fix his cranium and has daily treatment to remove dead tissue from the wounds

“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.”