Friday, March 3, 2017

SeaWorld Orlando returns four rehabilitated sea turtles to the wild

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 4:08 PM

  • Photo via Seaworld Orlando
Four loggerhead sea turtles are back home in the ocean after months of specialized care at SeaWorld Orlando.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Care Team and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released the turtles Wednesday, March 1, at Canaveral National Seashore.

Three of the turtles were flown to Orlando from Massachusetts, and the other was found in St. Augustine.

Sea turtles often experience "cold stun" from swimming in frigid northern ocean waters. The New England Aquarium in Boston sent 19 rescued sea turtles on a flight to Tampa for rehabilitation late last year. SeaWorld and other marine life organizations responded and took in three of the turtles, treating them for mild pneumonia by giving them antibiotics.

The turtle from St. Augustine was sent to Orlando from the Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience last May. The loggerhead was emaciated, lethargic, and covered in barnacles when it arrived. SeaWorld treated the animal with eight months of fluid therapy and digestive care.

These turtles will join the 29,000 other animals Seaworld's animal rescue team has helped for over 50 years.

According to National Geographic, loggerhead sea turtles are the most abundant of all the marine turtle species in the U.S., but due to pollution and habitat encroachment, their populations have dwindled.

The turtles have been on the threatened species list since 1978.

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