Written by: Mary Alice Blackstock
Mote Marine Laboratory released female loggerhead sea turtle “Moby” Wednesday, July 5, from Lido Beach in Sarasota, after 56 days of rehabilitative care.
The adult turtle washed ashore May 11, 2017, on Siesta Key and was brought to Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital on City Island, Sarasota. Moby was very lethargic, weak and had neurological issues, indicating that she was likely affected by toxins from Florida red tide algae, Karenia brevis. The turtle also had a healed boat strike wound on her carapace, or upper shell.
Mote’s staff provided excellent care for Moby including food, fluids and injectable antibiotics. After nearly two months of treatment, Moby was medically cleared for release.
Before release, Mote staff and interns fitted Moby with a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, which gives the turtle a unique barcode identification number similar to microchips in household pets. She was then transported to Lido Beach, where she quickly shuffled out to sea.
“It was an amazing release,” said Lynne Byrd, Mote’s Rehabilitation and Medical Care Coordinator. “She got to the beach, and you could tell she knew where she was. It took her a minute, but then she took right off and never looked back.”
Please report distressed or dead sea turtles and marine mammals.
Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program monitors sea turtle nesting from Longboat Key through Venice, and 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 FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 1 (888) 404-FWCC (3922).