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Rehabbed Turtle Released off Florida Keys to participate in Tour de Turtles’ Event
MARATHON, Florida Keys — A rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle that convalesced about four months at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital was fitted with a satellite-tracking transmitter and released Friday off the Florida Keys.
Named Aaron, the subadult reptile crawled into the Atlantic Ocean in front of several hundred cheering spectators at Marathon’s Sombrero Beach.
It is the only rehabilitated turtle of 12 that is part of the Tour de Turtles initiative 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 releases in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis, W.I. and Florida.
“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