A rescued sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle was returned to Florida waters this morning after rehabilitating at SeaWorld Orlando over the last several months following multiple surgeries to remove two fishing hooks.
The turtle was rescued outside of Port Canaveral, Fla., on August 12, 2013 after being found by the Kennedy Space Center’s Ecological Program. With assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, the turtle was rescued and transported to SeaWorld Orlando for care.
Upon arrival at SeaWorld, the turtle underwent three surgeries to remove two fishing hooks that were lodged in the turtle’s body. One was visibly lodged in the turtle’s mouth, while another hook was lodged in the lower esophagus of the turtle. Both fishing hooks were successfully removed.
After being medically cleared for today’s return, the park’s Animal Rescue Team transported the approximately 150-pound turtle to Canaveral National Seashore on Florida’s east coast where the turtle was successfully returned to the ocean.
In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 22,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.
So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued two sea turtles and returned one. Since 1980, SeaWorld has rescued and returned nearly 3,000 sea turtles.