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Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center successfully releases two more rehabilitated sea turtles

The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released two more rehabilitated sea turtle patients on Monday, August 7th, 2023 at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It continues to be a busy […]

Okaloosa Coastal Resource Manager Alex Fogg and C.A.R.E. Center volunteer, Sarah, releasing a sea turtle on Monday (Gulfarium CARE Center)

The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released two more rehabilitated sea turtle patients on Monday, August 7th, 2023 at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

It continues to be a busy year at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. Since January, they have taken in 99 sea turtles due to strandings and have released 81 of them. 

  • Yesterday, two Loggerhead sea turtles were returned to the Gulf of Mexico. The turtles’ homecoming to the Gulf was celebrated by the C.A.R.E. Center staff team, Topsail Park Rangers, and a large crowd of beachgoers and locals.
117-pound Loggerhead, Lime, returns home to the Gulf. (Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center)

“Lime,” a 117-pound subadult Loggerhead, was accidentally foul-hooked at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on June 23rd, 2023. Lime had one large hook in his left front flipper which was easily removed, and radiographs revealed a large hook in his esophagus and body cavity, according to the CARE Center.

  • In his time at the C.A.R.E. Center, Lime received squid with cotton balls and mineral oil in attempt to help him pass the hooks naturally. Though the internal hooks were never expelled, Lime had been eating well and showed good energy levels, and was medically cleared by the Gulfarium staff veterinarian for release.
C.A.R.E. Center volunteer, Sarah, and intern, Trey, assist Ellie in her grand return to the Gulf of Mexico with a host of cheering beachgoers and locals. (Gulfarium CARE Center)

“Ellie,” a 109-pound subadult Loggerhead, was accidentally caught off the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on May 31st, 2023. Ellie had fishing line trailing behind her that a fisherman had hooked onto. She was immediately brought into the C.A.R.E. Center and was acting lethargic, so she received fluids and a vitamin C injection to help her start her recovery. 

  • The C.A.R.E. Center staff also carefully monitored her weight and eating habits. After a two-month rehabilitation period, Ellie’s energy levels were back up and she even gained nine pounds, according to the CARE Center. 

“It was super rewarding watching Ellie make her way back to the Gulf,” says C.A.R.E. Center Stranding Coordinator, Tabitha Siegfried. “When we got the call about an accidentally hooked turtle from Okaloosa Island, we responded immediately. Ellie was very lethargic and did not put up a fight during the rescue, so I was a bit worried there was something more serious wrong with her. Being a part of her recovery and watching her get back out there is just a great feeling.”

C.A.R.E. Center Stranding Coordinator, Tabitha Siegfried, hosts the release with the help of Topsail Park Rangers and her C.A.R.E. Center team.

It’s still nesting season! Please remember to do your part in taking care of our local nesting and hatching sea turtles by keeping the beaches clean, dark, and flat. 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). 

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