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MARATHON (CBSMiami/Florida Keys News Bureau) — In celebration of World Turtle Day, a 200-pound male loggerhead sea turtle was released off the Florida Keys Tuesday, after convalescing for a month at the Marathon-based Turtle Hospital.

Named by his rescuers, “Big Don” was found entangled in fishing line with wounds to his face and shoulder, and struggling to surface.

The reptile was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, vitamins, and a healthy diet of squid and fish, according to Bette Zirkelbach, the facility’s manager.

Since its initiation in 2000, World Turtle Day brings awareness to encourages human action to help turtles and tortoises survive through education and knowledge.

The Turtle Hospital opened more than 30 years ago in Marathon as the world’s first state-licensed veterinary sea turtle hospital. The facility, equipped with three turtle ambulances for patient transport, has treated, rehabilitated and released more than 2,000 injured sea turtles and assisted scores of hatchlings gone astray after exiting their nests.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)


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