Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Released Back Into Gulf - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Released Back Into Gulf

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After a month and a half of rehabilitation,  an endangered sea turtle was released back into the Gulf of Mexico, Monday morning.  

"It was pretty amazing," said observer Rodney Whitfield.

The Gulf World Marine Institute, a non-profit, has cared for the turtle since it's stranding.

"It's one of the greatest feelings," said Stephanie Nagle, Education Director of GWMI.  "All of the hard work that the Gulf World Marine Institute staff gives this turtle.. And then to see him healthy again and release him.. It's a really good feeling."

The turtle is a Kemp species, in the sub-adult stage of life, which means he is between 20-25 years old.

He was found by a group of high school students who were a part of a Florida State University summer camp.

"They found him while they were on their boat studying sea grass habitats," said Nagle.  "They saw him and he was tangled in fishing line on his right flipper, so they pulled him up onto the boat and took the fishing line off and then contacted local authorities."

A process which almost amputated his front flipper..

The GWMI houses injured animals in-house and also has a veterinarian that cares for them, until they are medically clear.

"Our main goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured dolphins and sea turtles," said Nagle.

It's another success story for the only long-term marine mammal rehabilitation facility in northern Florida.

If you come across a sea turtle or marine mammal in distress, Gulf World recommends calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's 24-hour hotline.

Their phone number is 888-404-FWCC or 888-404-3922.

For more information about Gulf World Marine Institute click here . For more information about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission click here.