Rescued Sea Turtle with Three Flippers Discovered Nesting on Juno Beach
Sea Turtle was Rescued, Rehabilitated and Released in the Florida Keys Four Years Ago
June 28, 2013 – Juno Beach, FL- A female green sea turtle, once found entangled in a crab trap line, was found nesting in Tequesta, FL by Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) research staff on June 13. The sea turtle, with only three flippers, was returning to the water just after sunrise. She had a tag number, which allowed LMC staff to identify the nesting female by contacting the University of Florida’s Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, which maintains a sea turtle tag inventory database.
LMC staff discovered that the sea turtle had been rescued, rehabilitated and released in the Florida Keys four years ago. The green sea turtle, named Margarita, was rescued in May 2009; about two miles off Key West’s Mallory Square after becoming entangled in a crab trap line. The Turtle Hospital, a sea turtle rescue center in Marathon, FL, responded to the initial rescue call and partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to safely bring the turtle back to the hospital. The sea turtle’s left front flipper was severely damaged. Once Margarita arrived at the Turtle Hospital, Dr. Doug Mader amputated the damaged flipper. After two months of successful rehabilitation, it was decided that Margarita would be released.
“We often encounter sea turtles on the nesting beach that have lost flippers and continue to nest successfully,” said Kelly Martin, LMC biologist.
Margarita was released on September 8, 2009, off of Little Duck Key, a tiny island positioned at the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys. Florida governor at the time, Charlie Crist, along with the Turtle Hospital staff, assisted in returning the sea turtle to her ocean home. Nearly four years later, Margarita’s path led her to lay her eggs on Juno Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches in the world.
“We love discovering a nesting sea turtle that has overcome difficult circumstances,” Martin said. “Stories like Margarita’s serve as a significant reminder of the importance of educating the public on ocean conservation and sea turtle awareness, which is something we strive to do here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center,” she added.
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About Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a non-profit organization, is committed to the conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through public education, research and rehabilitation with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The center features an on-site campus hospital, learning exhibits and aquariums. Situated on the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beach, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 215,000 visitors each year. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call 561-627-8280.