PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf World has released two more sea turtles back into the gulf.
They were rescued this summer near the Russell Fields City Pier.
Thursday was Independence Day for two loggerhead turtles, “Eloise” and “King George”.
They’ve spent their summer rehabbing at Gulf World Marine Institute.
“Eloise was actually hooked and King George had an entanglements that they saw, and they were able to capture him all the free swimming,” Gulf World Marine Institute’s Stranding Coordinator Lauren Albrittain said. “ He did also have internal hooks as well.”
The road to recovery was a bit tougher for Eloise.
Due to the nature of her injuries, she lost her left front flipper and part of her rear right flipper.
“They have to relearn how to swim, and they do that while they’re with us,” Albrittain said. “Once that’s part of the checklist for medical clearance is they have to be able to swim and function in a full water column.”
Once vets cleared them, Gulf World experts released Eloise and King George off Front Beach Road in Laguna Beach.
Hundreds gathered Thursday morning to bid them farewell as they were carried to the water’s edge and released.
For many like 10-year-old Gracie Bryan, it was their first turtle release and quite an education about turtles.
“That with the flat turtles there’s not a lot of them here,” Bryan said. “But with the big like spoke ones, there’s a lot of them”
If you accidentally hook a sea turtle or see one in distress, Gulf World asks you to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline at 888-404-FWCC.