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MARATHON (CBSMiami/FKNB) — After spending four months rehabbing at Marathon’s famed Turtle Hospital, a loggerhead turtle was outfitted with a satellite-tracking transmitter and released.

Named Aaron, the subadult reptile crawled into the Atlantic Ocean in front of several hundred cheering spectators at Marathon’s Sombrero Beach.

He is the only rehabilitated turtle of the 12 that are part of the Tour de Turtles created by the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Beginning Aug. 2, the online education and awareness program will track the reptiles for three months. Turtles will be followed after their releases in Panama, Costa Rica, the West Indies and Florida.

Click Here for more info on the Tour de Turtles.

“It’s the sea turtle who goes the furthest distance in three months that wins the marathon and wins the Tour de Turtles,” said Dan Evans, research and technology specialist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. “The takeaway from the whole program is to really raise awareness about sea turtles, to get people interested in sea turtles through technology and to also let people know what they can do to help protect sea turtles.”

Aaron was discovered floating in a Key Largo boat basin in March. It was treated at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon for an intestinal impaction and parasites in its digestive system with antibiotics, anti-parasitic medications, lactulose, vitamins and a diet of squid and fish.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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