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Loggerhead Who Ate Hook Leaves Turtle Hospital For Keys Waters

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A juvenile loggerhead sea turtle (Source: Tom Longo/Loggerhead Marinelife Center)

A juvenile loggerhead sea turtle (Source: Tom Longo/Loggerhead Marinelife Center)

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ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys (CBSMiami) – A loggerhead sea turtle was returned to the ocean off the Florida Keys Saturday after an angler’s baited hook it ingested was surgically removed.

About 100 spectators that gathered at Anne’s Beach in Islamorada whooped and waved as the 145-pound turtle nicknamed Sandy swam out of a fiberglass washtub carried into the water by staff members of the Marathon-based Turtle Hospital with help from volunteers.

Classified by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service as a threatened species, the loggerhead was inadvertently hooked by an angler fishing from a bridge near Islamorada last Sunday.

But instead of breaking the line and letting the turtle swim away with the hook deep inside its mouth, the fisherman lead the reptile near the shoreline and contacted officials at The Turtle Hospital. The hospital’s turtle ambulance was dispatched and a hospital staffer and the angler jumped into the water to lift the female to land, according to Bette Zirkelbach, the facility’s manager.

Late last Sunday evening, hospital veterinarian Doug Mader removed the hook and, following several days of antibiotic therapy, the turtle was deemed healthy for release.

> Visit the Turtle Hospital’s website: http://www.turtlehospital.org

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