Ponce Inlet, FL – After five months of rehabilitation, an 82-pound sea turtle is ready to head home.
That’s the report from staff at the Marine Science Center Turtle Hospital, as they announce that a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle named Dandelion, will return to the sea later today (September 26th), during a free public release that is open to the public.
Volunteers with Flagler Turtle Patrol found Dandelion washed ashore on Flagler Beach on May 1st. They weighed 61-pounds at the time and was said to have been immune compromised, anemic, severely underweight and loaded with parasites.
“Dandelion presented with symptoms of what we call debilitated loggerhead syndrome,” said rehabilitation manager Melissa Ranly. “This is commonly seen in our loggerhead patients, but Dandelion was such an extremely critical case that we were concerned for his prognosis when he first arrived.”
Dandelion’s treatment included antibiotics to prevent further infection along with iron and vitamin injectors. Dandelion was also fed a special diet of live blue crabs to allow for normal foraging behavior before the release. They have since made a full recovery and gained 20 pounds in the process.
The plan so far is to release Dandelion today at 2 p.m. on the north side of the Beach Street ramp in Ponce Inlet in the no-driving zone.
The release, however, is dependent on weather and surf conditions.
Paid parking is available on the south side of the ramp as long as the tide stays down. Guests can also park for free at the Marine Science Center and take a short walk to the beach instead.