Juvenile loggerhead was released from Lido Beach after his May rescue in Venice.
Kennel the turtle was lucky number seven.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium released Kennel the turtle (so named because he came to Mote in a dog kennel), the seventh turtle released by the aquarium this year. On Wednesday morning, amid a spattering of rain drops on Lido Key Beach, Kennel was carried out to the water and quickly out of sight.
“Rain or shine, they get to go home,” said Lynn Bird, who helped with the release.
Kennel, a juvenile loggerhead, hasn’t been home since May, when he was brought in from the Venice Pier with a fish hook lodged in his throat. Since then, he has been rehabbing at Mote, recovering from anemia from the hook and putting on weight to get back to the ocean. Until an animal is released, it is considered in critical condition, so today was a relief. Recently, he was getting “more bitey,” said Bird.
“He was done with us,” said Bird. “We don’t want them to like us.”
If you see an animal hanging around the pier while you are fishing, you should pull in your line, Bird said. Unfortunately, a lot of turtles are hooked near piers because it’s easy food for them as fishers throw their bait over the side.
If you do hook a turtle, you should slowly pull it to shore, then contact the nearest rehab center. For the Longboat and Lido Key areas, that’s Mote, and the number is 988-0212.
Turtle season continues until Oct. 31, so you should stay aware on how to keep nesting turtles safe. Don’t go on the beach at night, turn off or shield lights visible from the beach, pack out everything brought onto the beach and use red light instead of a typical white light, which can disorient turtles. Turtles are wild animals, so do not approach them or try to chase or pick them up when encountering them.