Mote Marine Laboratory released subadult loggerhead sea turtle "Ms. Marker" Monday, June 5, from Lido Key, following one-and-a-half months of rehabilitative care at Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation.
On April 14, 2017, a couple of anglers found the subadult turtle floating on top of the water and called Mote, which transported the turtle to its Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.
Upon rescue, Ms. Marker was extremely lethargic and suffered from some neurological issues, which indicated that Florida red tide algae toxins may have affected the turtle. Initial diagnostics showed an elevated glucose level and a low white blood cell count. Mote staff provided excellent care including food, daily fluids and antibiotic therapy to treat the low white blood cell count.
One-and-a-half months later, Mote was able to medically clear Ms. Marker for release.
During Monday's release, Mote caregivers placed Ms. Marker on the beach and she made a quick beeline out to sea. In fact, she returned home just in time for sea turtle nesting season, which runs from May through October.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better release,” said Lynne Byrd, Mote’s Medical Care and Rehabilitation Coordinator. “It is so fulfilling to see these animals ready to return back home.”
Ms. Marker arrived at Mote with a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, which gives the turtle a unique barcode identification number similar to the microchips for cats and dogs. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Division implanted the tag in 2002 when Ms. Marker was found caught in a trawl net and was released the same day.
Please report distressed or dead sea turtles:
Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program monitors sea turtle nesting from Longboat Key through Venice each day of nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31 in southwest Florida. Mote's Stranding Investigations Program responds to reports of sick, injured or dead marine mammals and sea turtles in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
To report issues with sea turtle nests, nesting turtles or hatchlings (babies) from Longboat Key through Venice (such as disoriented hatchlings or storm-damaged nests), please call Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at 941-388-4331.
Within Sarasota or Manatee county waters, if you see a stranded or dead sea turtle, dolphin or whale, please call Mote's Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response service, at (941) 988-0212.
If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead sea turtle, dolphin or whale outside of Sarasota and Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert hotline: 1 (888) 404-FWCC (3922).