On Wednesday, January 11 at 10am, two sea turtles, Squash and Bermuda, are set to be released back into the Gulf of Mexico at Topsail Hill State Park.
According to the Gulfarium CARE Center, Bermuda is a sub-adult green sea turtle, weighing in at 66lbs. The turtle was foul-hooked in June of 2021 at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. After undergoing surgery to remove multiple fishing hooks, Bermuda spent seven months at the CARE Center recuperating.
Squash, on the other hand, is a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, weighing in at 75lbs. The turtle was foul-hooked on November 8th at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. During the initial intake procedure, Squash’s blood work showed mild anemia and radiographs revealed a large circle hook in the stomach.
- The CARE Center attempted non-surgical hook removal techniques and performed an endoscopic exam, but it showed that the hook was embedded in the turtle’s intestines.
- According to the CARE Center, the decision was made to leave the hook in place as attempting to remove it could have resulted in irreparable damage. Despite this, the team says that Squash is able to function normally and eat just fine.
The public is encouraged to attend the release, but parking is limited at Topsail Hill and a tram ride is necessary to reach the beach. Individuals are encouraged to plan accordingly as the release will begin promptly at 10:00am and last approximately 10 minutes.
Additionally, the CARE Team is currently looking for 2-3 volunteers to help run their “CAREing for Turtles program.” These volunteers will be responsible for assisting the Stranding Coordinator with the monthly outreach program.
- They will learn and share how the Gulfarium cares for their patients daily, the current patients’ stories, how to perform an intake exam of a new patient, and how the public can make a positive impact on sea turtles moving forward.
If you or someone you know might be interested in assisting with their after-hours educational program, send in an application at www.gulfarium.com/volunteer.
- Make sure to check the box on the application for the CAREing for Turtles program.