INLET BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s the moment Gulf World works for.
They released a loggerhead sea turtle into the Gulf of Mexico on July 31st after weeks of rehabilitation.
“It’s always a good day, this is the best day,” said Lauren Albrittain, a member of the standing team for Gulf World Marine Institute. “Being able to rehabilitate these animals and bring them back home is the whole point of what we do so it’s always very exciting.”
The turtle was caught up in fishing line off of M.B. Miller County Pier in Panama City Beach.
Angela Barros goes to the pier to take pictures often, and she says she had seen the turtle there before.
“It seemed to just hang out in that area,” said Barros. “I was able to identify based on very specific markings on her head.”
Those dotted markings lead the turtle to be called ‘Dottie.’ Barros adopted her through Gulf World, helping out with the rehabilitation process.
“We got the one hook out of her flipper super easy and we were good to go,” said Albrittain. “We just had to make sure she could swim and eat normally.”
According to Albrittain, not all turtles are as lucky as Dottie. She says her team sees a wide range of injuries.
“We’ve had a number of boat strike turtles, we’ll have severe entanglement turtles where we’ll have to amputate their appendages,” she said. “I’ve seen lots of trash come out of these turtles.”
For Dottie, recovery only took a couple of weeks. On Wednesday, she was released back to her home in the Gulf and Barros was there to help carry her to the water.
“It was really special to see her get back out into that Gulf,” she said. “Honestly hope we don’t see her again. Hope she gets further out this time.”