Two sea turtles were returned to the wild around 9:30 a.m. last friday after a successful recovery at Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.
The turtles, released from the Gasparilla Island State Recreation Area, were juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtles that had been treated at Mote since April.
"Emma Grace" was found April 29 on Longboat Key with fish hooks that had cut through the turtle's mouth and flipper. The turtle was weak when it arrived at Mote but made a fast recovery - even developing a ravenous appetite, said Nadina Slimak of Mote.
Mote Marine Laboratory
Grace Vahey and Nikki Pakan, summer interns in Mote’s Animal Care Program, just before they return Emma Grace and Treble to the surf Friday at Gasparilla Island State Park.
"Treble" arrived at Mote April 25. Nicknamed for the treble hooks caught in its mouth, Treble the turtle slowly returned to health during treatment.
The wounds suffered by both turtles - a species listed as endangered - shows how human activities can be harmful to animals, said Slimak. But there are ways to lessen human impacts on the environment:
- Stow your trash - especially cigarette butts, plastic and fishing hooks and line - in a closed container on your boat until you can properly dispose of it onshore.
- Make sure fishing line is in good condition to help reduce breakage, especially at the terminal tackle
- Use corrodible fishing hooks - that way, if you accidentally hook a sea turtle or other unintended species, the hook will rust away.