Ponce Inlet, FL – Rio, a 275-pound female adult loggerhead sea turtle, is set to be released back into the ocean on Wednesday.
Rio’s been rehabilitating at the Marine Science Center turtle hospital for the past 2 months, but officials say she’s strong and healthy enough to be released.
Rio was brought to the Marine Science Center on July 6 after she was found stranded on the beach in Brevard County. According to Melissa Ranly, Turtle Rehabilitation Manager at the Marine Science Center, Rio “had been fighting off an infection, was anemic, dehydrated, malnourished… so even though she was trying to get up there and lay eggs, her body just couldn’t do it.” She was also suffering from a prolapsed cloaca, or distended tissue in the tail area, which can happen during nesting or when on land for too long. Her lack of nutrients made it impossible to properly contract the tissues.
While at the turtle hospital, Rio’s prolapse was fixed and she was put on a treatment plan that included antibiotics, iron and vitamin injections, and a fluid diet high in calcium, potassium, and other electrolytes. She also started eating highly nutritious food including live blue crabs to make sure she’d be able to forage for food in the wild. Officials say she’s gained about 22 pounds while at the Marine Science Center.
“We are thrilled to be able to aid in the recovery and return of a breeding age, internationally endangered female sea turtle,” said Ranly. “It is our hope that she will return to the breeding population for decades and help the recovery and survival of her species.”
Weather permitting, Rio will be released at 3 PM on Wednesday, September 28, at the Beach St ramp in Ponce Inlet. The release will be on the north side of the ramp in the no-driving zone. The public is invited to attend.
(Photo courtesy Marine Science Center)
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