Four weeks ago a sub-adult Loggerhead turtle was found by biologists from the Inwater Research Group near the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. The 100-pound turtle was taken to SeaWorld, Orlando on February 26 with transport assistance from Inwater volunteers.
Initial tests, bloodwork, and x-rays confirmed the need for immediate surgery. The turtle had ingested a 4-inch-long fish hook.
Senior Veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft, one of three SeaWorld Orlando staff veterinarians, performed the surgery. It was one of the largest SeaWorld veterinarians have removed. Showing remarkable resilience, the turtle has made a quick recovery.
After a few short weeks of round-the-clock care, the turtle was deemed fit for release earlier this week.
This morning, Dan Conklin, aquarium supervisor at Seaworld, and dedicated staffers carefully loaded up the turtle for the ride to the beach before 8 a.m.
At Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, the loggerhead got one last lift from his friends at SeaWorld as they carried it from the transport vehicle to the water.
Peter Pan (as I’ve affectionately dubbed for his Hook-beating ways) moved steadily toward the water with many well-wishers around. At a little after 9 a.m. flippers could be seen darting through the waves as SeaWorld again helped an animal in need. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by SeaWorld experts. Their hard-working animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Help a Turtle Out:
J-shaped hooks are easy for sea life to swallow, which is why anglers are urged to use the new “circle” hooks which are less likely to be ingested. Protect this and other threatened species by properly disposing of all trash, and securing fishing line that can also cause harm to our ocean friends.
Celebrate the release by doing a Loggerhead craft!