Rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle Returns to the Gulf
June 24, 2015 by SoWal Staff
The Gulf World Marine Institute stranding team recently released a fully rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle into the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach. The stranded sea turtle was rescued in March of this year and was found to be emaciated and lethargic. After a few months of rehabilitation at Gulf World Marine Institute the sea turtle was medically cleared and then released back into the Gulf on June 24, 2015, along with a few human friends standing by for support.
The Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the most common sea turtle in Florida, is named for its massive, block-like head. Loggerheads are among the larger sea turtles - adults weigh an average of 275 pounds and have a shell length of about three feet. The powerful jaws of the loggerhead allow it to easily crush the clams, crabs, and other armored animals it eats.
A slow swimmer compared to other sea turtles, the loggerhead occasionally falls prey to sharks, and individuals missing flippers or chunks of their shell are not an uncommon sight. However, the loggerhead compensates for its lack of speed with stamina. Read more about five species of sea turtles found in Florida at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
There are five different species of sea turtles that nest on Florida’s beaches - Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill. All are considered either endangered or threatened, and are protected by Federal law.
We're hearing about sea turtles every day during this time of year on the Emerald Coast of Florida. Turtle nesting season runs from May through October in the panhandle of Florida. We're seeing record reports of nests found along beaches in South Walton and Panama City Beach. Our local Turtle Watch organizations are manned by experienced and qualified volunteers scouting the beach by foot at sunrise each morning along many miles of beaches.
Follow our local turtle watch groups on facebook for updates on nests and see exciting photos and video! South Walton Turtle Watch, Panama City Beach Turtle Watch, Emerald Coast Turtle Watch (Destin/Fort Walton Beach). So far, numbers of nests found in South Walton are double the numbers in our East/West neighboring cities.
Please remember to leave only your footprints and keep the beach clean, dark and flat, especially during sea turtle nesting season. Read more about Florida sea turtles and how to protect them at Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.
If you see a stranded or deceased dolphin or sea turtle, please immediately report to Florida
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission: 1-888-404-3922. Please also report if you see a dolphin or sea turtle acting suspiciously, beaching themselves, or a sea turtle with fishing wire entanglements.
Gulf World Marine Institute Gulf World Marine Park works with non-profit Gulf World Marine Institute to respond to sick, injured or stranded animals, rehabilitate and release them into the wild and serve as an educational resource to schools throughout our area. The Institute has rescued thousands of sick and debilitated marine animals since 1970. Learn more about their important work at www.gulfworldmarineinstitute.org.
Gulf World Marine Park is located at 15412 Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach. The park is open daily from 9:30 am-6 pm. For show times, pricing and information, please visit www.gulfworldmarinepark.com or call (850) 234-5271.
Follow Gulf World Marine Park on Facebook for updates on the park, events and marine life.