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2 rescued sea turtles released in Florida after recovery

Staff members from Turtle Hospital keep an eye an Emma, foreground, and Bubbles before their release.
Staff members from Turtle Hospital keep an eye an Emma, foreground, and Bubbles before their release Thursday off the Florida Keys.
(Bob Care / Florida Keys News Bureau)

Two rehabilitated sea turtles, rescued at different times and locations by the U.S. Coast Guard, have been released off the Florida Keys.

Emma, a 150-pound female loggerhead sea turtle, was recovered in June after she was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean off Islamorada. Emma was transported to the Turtle Hospital where treatment included emptying excess air out of her body cavity and giving her a regimen of fluids and vitamins.

Bubbles, a 225-pound adult female green sea turtle, was found tangled in an abandoned fishing trap line by recreational boaters in mid-June off Long Key. Officers from the Coast Guard station in Marathon assisted Turtle Hospital staff with the rescue.

The entanglement caused irreparable damage to Bubbles’ rear flipper, resulting in amputation surgery. Bubbles was also treated for pneumonia and other issues.

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Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Lees described the rescue and Thursday’s release of the sea turtles as a rare treat.

An aerial drone photo shows Emma being released.
(Bob Care / Florida Keys News Bureau)

“It’s fulfilling to see the final result of a turtle rescue,” Lees said. “Rarely do we get to see the actual release of the turtle.”

The Turtle Hospital in the Keys has been rescuing, rehabilitating and returning sea turtles to the wild since 1986.


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