PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Gulf World Marine Institute continues to remain dedicated to the Gulf Coasts’ sea turtle population.
The institute added two new graduates to their rehabilitation program this morning, as Ronaldo and Longclaw swam off into the Gulf.
The turtles had been hooked at the Russell Fields City Pier. Ronaldo on August 17th and Longclaw on October 13th.
Ronaldo was hooked twice, while longclaw had seven hooks in her. One hook could not be removed from Longclaw, but marine experts cleared her for release, noting she will be able to thrive in the wild.
Gulf World Strand Coordinator, Lauren Albrittain, said it’s special to be able to heal and release an adult female due to the endangered nature of the species.
Ronaldo was special for a different reason, “After we released Jamie the loggerhead earlier this summer, our van got stranded on the side of the road over near Port St. Joe,” Albrittain said.
“And this gentleman just pulled over and helped us for no other reason than he was nice,” Albrittain said. “He was with us for many hours fixing part of the van, and so we offered to let him name a turtle so his wife picked the name, Ronaldo.”
At the moment, Gulf World Marine Institute has four more rehabilitating sea turtles in their care.
They continue to urge anyone who comes into contact with a hurt or stranded sea turtle to call the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922.