PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — A loggerhead sea turtle was released back into the wild on Thursday as Gulf World Marine Institute set it free after two and a half months of rehabilitation.
‘Chester’ the sea turtle was accidentally hooked back in August off of M.B. Miller Pier.
He was then rescued by Gulf World but it was later discovered that he had actually been living with another hook lodged in his throat.
“We understand that it happens, if it does just call us, you are not going to get in trouble,” said Lauren Albrittain, a member of the GWMI Stranding Team. “We actually prefer when you call us instead of cutting the line because then that turtle is swimming around with a hook in his throat.”
The turtle needed a surgical procedure in order to remove that hook, which was successful.
On Thursday, he was finally released back into the Gulf.
“It’s just great to be able to educate people, to see them out here enjoying the animals as well as we are,” said Albrittain. “Now we just hope to never see him again.”
The hook in Chester’s throat measured over five centimeters long; a very large hook for the younger turtle.
Crowds were able to watch as Chester swam into the water and took his first breath.