The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center successfully released five rehabilitated sea turtles on Thursday, June 9, 2022, at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park off of West County Highway 30A.
It was a warm, sunny morning as crowds gathered to watch the endangered turtles head back into the Gulf of Mexico. All of the rehabilitated sea turtles had fallen victim to fishing hook related injuries.
One interesting and very large turtle venturing back into the Gulf of Mexico today was Mambo, an adult female loggerhead weighing a whopping 213lbs. Mambo was hooked in the mouth by a large shark fishing circle hook on June 4, 2022. With light sedation the hook was removed, and this large turtle was deemed ready for release. After examining Mambo upon arrival at the C.A.R.E Center, the team believes that she had recently nested and laid eggs.
"Release days are always extremely rewarding for the whole team," states Tabitha Siegfried, Stranding Coordinator for the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. "Knowing that Mambo is a reproductively active female who potentially laid eggs recently, getting her back out to possibly nest again this breeding season is especially exciting as all species of sea turtle are endangered."
Another turtle released was Orion. This juvenile green weighed 15lbs and arrived at the C.A.R.E. Center for the second time, on May 30, 2022, after being accidently foul hooked by a fisherman at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Orion first received rehabilitation at the center in 2021. Due to her smaller size, she was walked into the surf for release.
The next sea turtle to head back into the Gulf of Mexico was Rosalind, a sub-adult Kemp's ridley weighing in at 45lbs, who was hooked in the mouth with a large shark fishing hook and a J-hook, on May 27, 2022. Both of the hooks were removed with light sedation and following a short recovery period to ensure all was well, Rosalind was cleared for release.
Dot, a juvenile green weighing in at 17lbs, who was foul hooked with a Sabiki hook in the right front flipper, at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on May 29, 2022 was also released. This was Dot's third visit to the C.A.R.E. Center, after last receiving treatment in 2020.
Juvenile green sea turtle, Lil Bit, arrived at the C.A.R.E. Center on June 5, after being foul hooked by a fisherman at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. This turtle weighed just 7lbs and had clear radiographs upon arrival at the center, so was medically cleared for release by the veterinary team.
If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured, or deceased please report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).
Follow the C.A.R.E. Center on Facebook
to learn more about sea turtles and the center's rehabilitation efforts. The C.A.R.E. Center and its patients can be visited as part of a general admission ticket to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.
The Gulfarium CARE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is proud to act as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online on the C.A.R.E. Center's webpage