Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) released three sea turtles on Tues., April 17 at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, FL. The sea turtles included Echo and Papa, two endangered green sea turtles treated for the fibropapilloma virus, and Marigold, a critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle treated for boat strike injuries.
Onlookers gathered with CMA staff and volunteers for sea turtle release.
Two Green Sea Turtles and a Critically Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Rehabilitated
Echo and Papa, named during the NATO phonetic alphabet theme, were rescued in January this year in Hudson Beach, FL. They were brought in with low body temperatures and tumors caused by the fibropapilloma virus. Both sea turtles underwent successful tumor removal surgery and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cleared them for release.
Marigold was rescued in October 2017 during the flower naming theme. The critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found by a fisherman on the Cotee River, near New Port Richey, FL. Marigold’s left lung was partially exposed through an extensive wound on her top shell and had sustained additional wounds on her bottom shell. The injuries are believed to have been caused by a boat strike.
Kemp’s ridley, Marigold, being prepared for release.
Marigold was promptly triaged after arrival, put on fluids and wound care was performed regularly. This included removing marine debris and old bone fragments, gently cleaning/disinfecting the area, then applying a waterproof protective paste mix (including honey). Marigold was also cleared for release by FWC and returned home along with Echo and Papa.
All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-17-172.