Crowds watch as Mambo, an adult female loggerhead sea turtle, heads towards the Gulf of Mexico. Photo credit: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center successfully releases 5 rehabilitated sea turtles back into the Gulf of Mexico

The endangered turtles were reintroduced back into the Gulf of Mexico as spectators gathered to see them off at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park off of West County Highway 30A.
Crowds watch as Mambo, an adult female loggerhead sea turtle, heads towards the Gulf of Mexico. Photo credit: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

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The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released five rehabilitated sea turtles on Thursday, June 9, 2022, at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park off of West County Highway 30A. 

  • The endangered turtles were reintroduced back into the Gulf of Mexico as spectators gathered to see them off at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park off of West County Highway 30A.
  • All of the turtles were victims of fishing hook-related injuries.

Among the five turtles released was Mambo, a 213-pound female loggerhead. Mambo had been hooked in her mouth by a large shark-fishing circle hook on Saturday, June 4. With Mambo under light sedation, the hook was removed and she was cleared to be released.

  • Additionally, upon her arrival at the C.A.R.E. Center, Mambo underwent an examination which led the team to believe that she had recently nested and laid eggs.

“Release days are always extremely rewarding for the whole team,” said Tabitha Siegfried, Stranding Coordinator for the C.A.R.E. Center. “Knowing that Mambo is a reproductively active female who potentially laid eggs recently, getting her back out to possibly nest again this breeding season is especially exciting as all species of sea turtle are endangered.”

Mambo, an adult female loggerhead sea turtle, released back into the Gulf of Mexico. Photo credit: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Another of the turtles released was Orion, a 15-pound juvenile green sea turtle. This was Orion’s second visit to the C.A.R.E. Center after she was accidentally foul hooked by a fisherman at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on May 30, 2022. Orion’s first visit to the center was last year in 2021. Due to her smaller size, Orion had to be escorted into the surf for release.

The third of the sea turtles to make her way back into the Gulf was Rosalind, a nearly mature 45-pound Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Rosalind was hooked in the mouth with a large shark-fishing hook as well as a J-hook on May 27, 2022.

  • Like Mambo, Rosalind had to undergo light sedation to get her hooks removed.
  • From there, she had a brief stay at the center to recuperate from her injuries before she was cleared for release. 

The second-to-last of the turtles that were released was Dot, another juvenile green sea turtle weighing in at 17 pounds. Dot was foul hooked with a Sabiki hook in his front right flipper at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on May 29, 2022. This was Dot’s third visit to the C.A.R.E. Center, with his last coming in 2020.

The last of the turtles released was Lil Bit, yet another juvenile green sea turtle, the youngest of the bunch weighing in at only 7 pounds. Lil Bit was foul hooked at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier just earlier this week on Sunday, June 5. Upon arrival at the center, Lil Bit had clear radiographs and so was medically cleared for release by the veterinary team.

If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured or deceased, please report it immediately to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).

🙌 Thanks to our sponsors

This coverage is made possible thanks to Caliber Car Wash in Fort Walton Beach! Caliber features top-of-the-line equipment and tons of free detailing tools for use after your wash, including free vacuums, air fresheners, mat cleaners, detailing air, cleaners, and towels. 

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