Gulfarium CARE Center volunteers released two rehabilitated sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park on Wednesday.
The juvenile green sea turtle “Arugula” arrived at the Gulfarium’s CARE Center in December after being attached to the Navarra Beach fishing pier. This was the second visit to the center for Arugula, who was a patient in 2017.
Arugula was diagnosed with pneumonia and her right lung was noticeably reduced in volume. He also had two hooks lodged in his esophagus. After more than 10 months of rehab, surgery, several rounds of antibiotics, a CT scan, a scope on her lungs, and antifungal medication, Arugula was finally deemed healthy and ready to be released.
The second patient to be released was Bindi, a subadult Kemp’s sea turtle. Bindi was gagged at the Pensacola Beach fishing pier on August 4th. The hook was removed at the CARE Center and Bindi remained under observation until she reached a healthy weight and had a normal blood count.
“With Kemp’s ridleys being the most endangered sea turtle, it’s always very satisfying to release one into the ocean,” said Tabitha Siegfried, stranding coordinator for the Gulfarium CARE Center. “However, it is just as rewarding to see any species of sea turtle released. The ruca has had a long journey of recovery and we are very proud to see her happily returning to her home. It was a special moment for the entire CARE Center team.”
If you see an endangered, injured, or dead sea turtle, report it immediately to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922).
The center and its patients can be visited as part of a general admission ticket to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.
The non-profit Gulfarium CARE Foundation calls itself a beacon for coastal conservation through the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals.