Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center sea turtles return home

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SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — Five sea turtles returned home after spending many months in recovery.

After fishermen accidentally hooked five sea turtles near a fishing pier Gulfarium care center in fort Walton took in three Kemp Ridley’s, one Loggerhead, and one Green Sea Turtle. 

They took all of them into operations to remove the hooks. And as of Thursday morning, staff released all five back into their natural habitat near Inlet Beach in Walton County.

Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Sea Turtle Stranding Coordinator Tabitha Siegfried said each release is bittersweet, although she gets to see each turtle’s unique personality, it’s great knowing they are able to return home.

“Every intake of a turtle, just to get it in and get the baseline is about an hour and a half. If something else is more severe like pluto today, he had the hook in his esophagus, it was non-surgically removed,” said Siegfried. “It still takes three to four hours. We have to put him under anesthesia, breathe for him every thirty seconds, and wait for him to wake up. So just seeing the hard work pay off.” 

Normally this time of year, bigger turtles should be closer to the Texas and Mexico nesting, but Siegfried said they have seen more on our beaches this year.

To learn more about Gulfarium’s educational resources, visit their website.

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