The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center has taken in 89 patients this year and, so far, has released 58 of them. In July, six sea turtles, four Loggerheads, one Kemps Ridley, and one Green were able to return to the Gulf of Mexico.
Several dedicated C.A.R.E Center staff team members and their volunteers, as well as hundreds of beachgoers and locals were able to observe the release first-hand.
“Lychee,” an adult female Kemps Ridley weighing in at 73 lbs. was caught on 7/2/23 at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier wrapped in fishing line. After x-rays and bloodwork showed no other ailments and no internal hooks, Lychee was cleared for a very short stay here at the CARE Center.
“Apple,” a subadult Loggerhead weighing in at 88 lbs. was accidently hooked in the mouth by a circle hook at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on 6/27/23.
“Finn,” a subadult Loggerhead weighing 100 lbs. was foul-hooked at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on 2/26/23 with a j-hook in his esophagus. Finn was very emaciated and anemic upon arrival. After months of rehabilitation and rest, Finn was finally cleared for release.
“Finley,” a subadult Loggerhead weighing 96 lbs. was accidentally hooked at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on 4/4/23. Due to the severity of entanglement he had sustained, his right front flipper was amputated here at the CARE Center. After three months of healing and rest, he passed his health exit exam and was ready to be returned to the Gulf. “Per FWC regulations, turtles are releasable if they have at least one flipper on each side of their body, and do just as well as turtles with all four flippers,” says Tabitha Siegfried, Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Stranding Coordinator.
“Mango,” a subadult Loggerhead hooked at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on 7/2/23, and “Coconut,” a juvenile Green recently hooked at NBFP, also joined the release this morning.
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).