The previously tagged turtle was receiving care for blood loss because of a mangled flipper.
Larissa the turtle is home.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium on Friday, Jan. 3, released the adult female loggerhead into the Gulf of Mexico from Lido Beach. She had been receiving care at the sea turtle hospital since August, when she was found missing part of her front right flipper.
Larissa had been tagged in 2005, when nesting on the east coast of Florida. She was spotted again in 2009, at which point she still had her full flippers, and then disappeared until 2019, when she showed up at Boca Grande Beach, said medical care coordinator Lynne Byrd. The injury is assumed to a shark bite, said Byrd, but she's not certain. Larissa’s rescuers notified Mote, and the turtle entered rehabilitation care. Aided by the sea turtle hospital staff, Larissa received iron supplements and soon began eating on her own again during her stay.
“The goal is always to get them back to the wild and give her (Larissa) her life back,” Byrd said.
Larissa healed well, never taking antibiotics, Byrd said, which is typical of the hardy species.
“We just had to give her a clean environment and good nutrition, and she did a lot of the work herself,” Byrd said.
Staff and volunteers hoisted the turtle out of a Mote vehicle and a team carried the 250-pound animal down to the water, where she took off for home quickly after being released.