Today three green sea turtles were released back into waters of Florida’s east coast. All three turtles were rehabilitated by SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team.
The first turtle to be released –a quite large, 20-inch turtle– was brought to SeaWorld’s rehabilitation facility in January of this year with pneumonia. Considered a sub-adult, this female green sea turtle was given around-the-clock care by the Park’s turtle specialists. She was released today in Eddy Creek, and the aquarium team has confidence she will do just fine back in the wild.
A turtle that was recently brought to SeaWorld for a shell infection and barnacles also was released today. Barnacles can cause stress and disable the flippers of the turtle. After carefully removing the barnacles, the aquarium team nursed the young turtle’s shell back to health. Turtle specialists are optimistic about the turtles release back into Cape Canaveral.
The day of turtle releases ended with the third green sea turtle which was rescued in December of 2010 for fishing line ingestion, which is a common injury for sea turtles. SeaWorld’s care team aided this turtle back to health by removing the line and monitoring the turtle’s weight until it reached a healthy benchmark. The fastest of the three turtles took off into the waves, which aquarists say is a good sign.
“Today’s release went well, and we’re happy that the turtle’s are fully recovered and are safely back into their natural habitats,” said Dan Conklin, SeaWorld Orlando’s Supervisor of Aquarium.
Since the sea turtle rescue program began at SeaWorld Orlando in 1980, more than 1,530 sea turtles have been cared for by the park’s vets and turtle experts. Each was either rescued by the staff or brought to the park due to cold stress, injuries from nets, fishing line and hooks, ingestion of trash such as plastic bags, boat strikes, natural causes and oil contamination. The team’s success rate in caring for turtles with such a wide variety of injuries is amazingly high: 68% of the turtles brought to SeaWorld in the past 30 years have been returned to the wild after hands-on care and TLC.
Coinciding with today’s release is this Friday’s, June 24, launch of “Turtle: The Incredible Journey”, the first movie from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s newly formed SeaWorld Pictures division, in theaters across the country and at Pointe Orlando and Oviedo Marketplace in Central Florida.
It’s a stunning family documentary and award-winning film that follows the life and migration of a loggerhead turtle from hatchling to maturity on a two-year adventure of more than 9,000 miles guided only by instinct. The film is a remarkable example of wildlife documentary filmmaking and is narrated by Academy Award nominee Miranda Richardson.