The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released seven rehabilitated sea turtles on Friday, September 24, 2021 Saint George Island, Florida.
Tabitha Siegfried, Stranding Coordinator for the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center gently situated the rehabilitated turtles into the C.A.R.E. van to make the four-hour trek to Saint George Island, Florida. “It is quite a ways to go from our facility for this particular release, but many of the turtles are repeat offenders, meaning they have been previously hooked at piers, so the further away we go for release, we hope will give them a better opportunity at avoiding an accidental re-capture in the future.” states Tabitha.
The seven turtles, ranging in weight from 26 – 106 lbs. were released today after successful rehabilitations at the C.A.R.E. Center. All seven turtles (five sub-adult loggerheads and two juvenile green sea turtles) were accidently hooked by fishermen at local fishing piers. “We continue to see the majority of the turtles come in due to overlaps with recreational fishing, and we feel good for the turtles, the environment, and the fisherman that people are not cutting the line. Most of the time, if a turtle has an external hook or entanglement, we also find them internally. Some need surgery to remove while others pass the internal monofilament on their own under medical supervision. If you are fishing, whether from a pier or a boat, and a turtle appears, consider reeling in your line and moving to another location to avoid accidentally hooking or entangling the turtle. It is a collaborative effort to ensure the future generations of these remarkable sea turtles” states Will Merrill, President at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center.
All turtles were given a clean bill of health and approved to be released though FWC officials and the C.A.R.E. veterinarian and animal care team.