Two rescued sea turtles released in Florida after recovery

ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA (AP) — Two rehabilitated sea turtles, rescued at different times and locations by the United States (US) Coast Guard, have been released off the Florida Keys.

‘Emma’, a 68-kilogramme female loggerhead sea turtle, was recovered in June after she was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean off Islamorada. ‘Emma’ was transported to the Turtle Hospital where treatment included emptying excess air out of her body cavity and a regimen of fluids and vitamins.

‘Bubbles’, a 100-kilogramme adult female green sea turtle, was found entangled in an abandoned fishing trap line by recreational boaters in mid-June off Long Key. Officers from the Coast Guard station in Marathon assisted Turtle Hospital staff with the rescue.

The entanglement caused irreparable damage to Bubbles’ rear flipper, resulting in amputation surgery. Bubbles was also treated for pneumonia and other issues.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Lees described the rescue and Thursday’s release of the sea turtles as a rare treat.

“It’s fulfilling to see the final result of a turtle rescue,” Lees said. “Rarely do we get to see the actual release of the turtle.” The Turtle Hospital in the Keys has been rescuing, rehabilitating and returning sea turtles to the wild since 1986.

Turtle Hospital staff members watch over ‘Emma’, a loggerhead sea turtle, front, and ‘Bubbles’, a green sea turtle, back, before they left the dock on a US Coast Guard boat to release the reptiles on Thursday off Islamorada, Florida. PHOTO: AP