MIAMI (CBS4) – Two green sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation at the Miami Seaquarium were released back into the wild Thursday.
The juvenile sea turtles, known as Butterball and Petrie, were rescued and placed in rehab at the seaquarium last year after they were found weak and injured in the wild. They were released at around 10 a.m. Thursday at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne.
Butterball, at almost 15 pounds, was rescued from Deerfield Beach in August of 2010.
Jodi Linvill, the animal care supervisor at the Miami Seaquarium, said he had a hook in his mouth when he was rescued.
“He came in because he had a hook in his mouth and he had a hook inside, which dissolved, and now he’s hook-free and ready to go back out,” she said.
Petrie, weighing 23 pounds, was rescued in October 2010 near the Florida Power and Lighting power plant in Broward County. Petrie was likely hit by a boat and as a result received three slashes along its carapace, or shell. He fully recovered, officials said.
“We have this mark here, the prop mark, one right here and then one right here,” Linvill explained to CBS4’s Cristina Puig. “When he came in these pieces were not even connected.”
Now fully nursed and ready to face their natural environment each turtle is equipped with an informational tag so workers will know if they ever cared for the animal in the past.
“He’s able to do what he needs to do,” Linvill said of Petrie. “He’s eating, diving. He’s healthy again.”
Linvill said even though she’s happy to see the turtles released it’s a bittersweet moment.
“It’s sad to see them go,” she said. “We’re always concerned because there’s that risk being out in the wild, but we need them to go. It’s vital for the species.”
Lori Rosichan witnessed the release. She said she enjoyed watching the turtles set free.
“It was just something so natural, and to see people that had just nurtured these turtles, back to health and are taking faith in the world that they’re going to be set free and be able to fend for themselves,” Rosichan said. “It’s just wonderful.”
Now fully nursed and ready to face their natural environment, each turtle is equipped with an informational tag so workers will know if they ever cared for the animal in the past.
Each year the Miami Seaquarium rehabs between10 to 15 sea turtles. Turtles can live for up to 80 years and weigh up to 500 pounds, according to the seaquarium.
Since they’re considered an endangered species, the staff at the seaquarium is always happy to set them free.