Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center successfully releases 5 rehabilitated sea turtles

Special to the Destin Log/USA TODAY NETWORKK
Spectators watch Thursday as Pluto the sea turtle makes her way into the Gulf of Mexico at Inlet Beach.
Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center volunteer Bob Blais carries Blackfin, a juvenile green sea turtle, toward the Gulf of Mexico at Inlet Beach on Thursday. Five rehabilitated sea turtles were released.

INLET BEACH— The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center released five rehabilitated sea turtles Thursday morning at Inlet Beach.

The turtles released were three Kemp's ridleys, one loggrehead and one green 

"We were delighted to release these turtles back into the Gulf of Mexico," said Patrick Berry, director of the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. "All species of sea turtle are endangered, with the Kemp's ridley sea turtle being the most endangered, so being able to rehabilitate these animals and release them back into the Gulf to help preserve the species is so rewarding."

The five sea turtles, ranging from 20 to 95 pounds. were released after successful rehabilitations at the C.A.R.E. Center. They all were accidently hooked by fishermen at local fishing piers within the past two weeks. 

"We were happy to see that each of these turtles only needed short stays with us," said Tabitha Siegfried, stranding coordinator at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. "Mercury, Twilight, Saturn and Blackfin all had clear X-rays showing no ingested debris, so were cleared for release once the external hooks were removed. Pluto had a J-hook within his esophagus that was non-surgically removed before being ready to head back into the Gulf."

All turtles were given a clean bill of health and approved to be released though the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the C.A.R.E. Center veterinarian and animal care team.

Several other turtles are undergoing rehabilitation, and the C.A.R.E. Center expects this season to continue to be a busy one.  

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 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 page.