On the morning of December 16, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned a 63-pound endangered loggerhead sea turtle measuring 23 inches long to its natural environment on Playalinda Beach (located at the Canaveral National Seashore). The turtle spent more than 3 months at SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation facility after a large fishing hook became embedded in its head.
The loggerhead sea turtle was rescued back in August near Jetty Beach, Fla.

After the turtle was stabilized and initial health tests and blood work were completed, the SeaWorld team was able to take X-rays to better gauge the depth and degree of damage from the hook before removal. Fortunately, the embedded hook was a “circle” hook and was quickly removed without causing any additional trauma to surrounding tissue.

As part of treatment, the turtle also received a balanced diet, increased vitamin intake, and daily care by SeaWorld Orlando’s veterinary and zoological staff. After a positive trend in health and several medical tests, the turtle was deemed ready to be returned to the ocean by government officials. SeaWorld Orlando veterinarians and zoological staff work closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine when and where a rescued animal can be returned.

The loggerhead was returned to the ocean with another loggerhead that came to SeaWorld Orlando in February after being rescued near St. Augustine and two rehabilitated cold stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that came to SeaWorld Orlando in November 2014 from Massachusetts.

So far in 2015, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 63 sea turtles and returned 88. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 27,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Turtle Friendly Fishing Practices
  • Use “circle” hooks instead of “j” hooks
  • Dispose of old line and hooks properly
  • Be mindful of where you are fishing, don’t cast your line where sea turtles can be seen surfacing to breathe
  • If you accidently hook a turtle, call for help and don’t lift the turtle out of the water by the line, it could result in further injury
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at (888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device. To learn more about SeaWorld’s commitment to animals and the environment, visit SeaWorldCares.com.

PHOTOS: © 2015 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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