Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lucy, the Loggerhead

Sea turtles released back into wild

TAMPA - After years of treatment and rehabilitation, Florida Aquarium marine biologists have released two sea turtles back into the wild.

The turtles and their caretakers left for the east coast of Florida around 8 a.m.

One is a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, and is the most endangered kind; the other is a loggerhead sea turtle, which is classified as "threatened" in Florida.

Biologists say they are both rare, and their successful rehabilitation comes after years of treatment for their injuries.

The Loggerhead, named "Lucy" by her caretakers, was brought to the Aquarium in 2006 after a boat hit her, damaging her spine, and rendering her paraplegic.

"Lucy" no longer has use of her back flippers. Biologists say turtles in this condition usually have to stay in captivity, but "Lucy" is able to maneuver herself well, and was approved for release by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle came to the Aquarium in 2002 after becoming stranded in Massachusetts. It had extensive shell rot, which was eventually cleared up with antibiotics.

Both turtles were returned to the wild near Cape Canaveral.


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