Featured Image Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for Toot the sea turtle the last few weeks. But that all came to an end when she was released back into the ocean earlier this week by Clearwater Marine Aquarium after a very successful rescue and rehabilitation!
In late June, a group of fisherman found Toot floating near Tierra Verde in Pinellas County. Not only did she weigh a mere 130 pounds, she was also covered in barnacles and seemed very lethargic. Toot was brought into Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) where the team carefully removed the barnacles and provided her with fluids, antibiotics and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to get her strength back up.
During her rehabilitation, Toot received extensive care during her rehabilitation at CMA, including throughout Hurricane Irma. A team of CMA staff remained at the aquarium during the storm with the animals, including Toot, to continue care and rehabilitation. She gained 30 pounds during her stay, weighing in at 168 pounds at the time of her release!
She was released at Clearwater Beach behind the Sandpearl Resort this past Thursday, Sept. 21 at 11 a.m.
“Our team continues to implement our mission of rescue, rehab, and release no matter the circumstance,” says David Yates, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. “Toot and the other animals at CMA continued to be provided with the utmost care during the hurricane, and we are excited to see her return to the wild.”
Loggerheads are currently listed as a threatened species because their nesting beaches are under threat from tourism development. But we really want these guys to stay around for a lot longer. Loggerhead sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and traveled our seas for the last 100 million years. We’re very lucky that organizations like Clearwater Marine Aquarium are working so hard to protect and take care of species just like the Loggerhead sea turtle.