Locator Super: Marathon, Florida Keys
Video: Spot video of satellite transmitting tag being affixed to turtle shell, children looking at turtle before release and turtle release. Also included are file photos of turtle after rescue and after surgery. SOTs with Dan Evans, senior research biologist with Sea Turtle Conservancy; and Bette Zirkelbach (pronounced Betty ZIR kull back), general manager of Turtle Hospital. Video to be available on the Florida Keys News Bureau’s FTP server (see details below) or via Google Link by clicking here.
Video Source: Florida Keys News Bureau
MARATHON, Florida Keys -- A juvenile green sea turtle rehabilitated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital was fitted with a satellite-tracking transmitter and released from a Keys beach Friday to join the 15th annual Tour de Turtles, a marathon-like “race” that follows the long-distance migration of sea turtles over three months.
The educational outreach program is organized annually by the Sea Turtle Conservancy to raise awareness about sea turtles and threats to their survival.
“Tortie,” named by her rescuers, is swimming to raise awareness about her affliction. She was found Dec. 1, 2021, unable to dive and suffering from fibropapillomatosis — a debilitating tumor-causing disease that develops from a herpes-like virus that affects sea turtle species around the world.
After Tortie’s tumors were removed, following multiple surgeries, the turtle’s recovery included broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, vitamins and a diet of mixed seafood and greens. Tortie weighed approximately 25 pounds Friday morning.
“One sea turtle can make a difference, not only going back to the ocean and having baby sea turtles, but the bigger reach is helping people to care about sea turtles and our oceans,” said Bette Zirkelbach (pronounced Betty ZIR kull back), general manager of the Turtle Hospital.
Hundreds of spectators broke out in delighted applause when Tortie swam away from Marathon’s Sombrero Beach into the Atlantic Ocean.
Online monitoring – at TourDeTurtles.org -- for Tortie and another 11 hard-shell turtles that have been released begins Aug. 1 and end Oct. 31.
“In addition to the educational aspect of the Tour de Turtles, we’re also learning about where these turtles are going and then be able to look and see if there are any threats that the turtles face in these areas,” said Dan Evans, senior research biologist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys has been rescuing, rehabilitating and returning sea turtles to the wild for 35 years.
Folder: News Video
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