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Mote returns loggerhead turtle to the sea

Mote released Mrs. Turt Lee on May 8.

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  • | 5:06 p.m. May 11, 2015
Mrs. Turt Lee approaches the water.
Mrs. Turt Lee approaches the water.
  • Longboat Key
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Mote Marine Laboratory released a rescued loggerhead sea turtle on Lido Key on May 8.

The turtle, Mrs. Turt Lee, was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard last June after receiving boat-strike injuries. She was spotted about one mile off Longboat Pass, unable to dive and with wounds on her upper shell, lacerations on her front flippers and the mark of an old shark bite.

After nearly a year in Mote’s care, veterinarians determined last month that the 255-pound Mrs. Turt Lee was ready to be released. Her shell had improved, her blood work looked normal, and an ultrasound found that she is carrying large follicles, which are precursors to eggs.

“The release could not have gone any better,” Lynne Byrd, medical care and rehabilitation coordinator for Mote, said in a press release. “Releasing this turtle back to her home is a great way to give back to the sea, which gives so much to us. One release may not change the world, but it changed the world for this turtle. We are so thankful to the Coast Guard crewmembers for helping us to help this animal.”

Since 1995, Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital has treated more than 450 sea turtles with the ultimate goal of being able to return the turtles to the ocean.


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