On Monday morning, March 18, Mote Marine Laboratory released a subadult, believed-female loggerhead sea turtle nicknamed “Clarice.” She has been outfitted with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) and flipper tags, which provide identification data for Clarice if future needs arise. She was released at Lido Beach and was carried into the water due to a previous injury to one of her flippers. Although she initially swam in the wrong direction, Clarice, with the help of Mote’s Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital Staff, found the sea.

Clarice’s tale began on a Halloween night, October 31, 2023, when she was found adrift three miles off the coast from the Venice Fishing Pier in Sarasota County. Weighed down by an abundance of epibiota (typically parasitic organisms that live on other living organisms) and showing signs of anemia (a condition where the blood lacks healthy red blood cells) and low blood glucose, Clarice was swiftly brought to Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for care.

Upon her arrival, it became evident that Clarice was suffering from what was suspected to be debilitated turtle syndrome, a condition where turtles become lethargic and anemic. She was placed in a rehab pool with shallow water, gradually adjusting to her surroundings. Despite her weakened state, Clarice showed a spark of resilience by eagerly foraging on capelin and squid.

In the following days and weeks, Clarice’s condition improved steadily. With each passing day, she became more active, and her tank depth was adjusted accordingly. Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital staff carefully monitored her diet and increased as she regained her strength. Regular treatments, including antibiotics, iron injections, and deworming, helped in her recovery process.

Clarice’s progress has been remarkable. After 140 days of dedicated care and rehabilitation, Clarice has been deemed fit for release. Clarice’s story serves as a testament to the resilience of these magnificent creatures and the tireless efforts of those committed to their conservation.

“Tagging Clarice before her release was crucial for her future well-being,” said Lynne Byrd, Mote’s Rehabilitation and Medical Care Manager. “By affixing a PIT tag and flipper tags, Mote ensures that if Clarice ever requires rescue or encounters any challenges in the ocean, she can be readily identified and provided with appropriate assistance.”

In an ocean vast and unpredictable, these identification tags serve as her voice, allowing Mote to continue supporting her journey toward a thriving existence in her natural habitat.


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 888-345-2335.

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 or Manatee counties, please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 1 (888) 404-FWCC (3922).

Mote’s sea turtle activities are conducted under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Turtle Permits 155, 216, 027, 054, 070, 048, 126 and 028.


About Mote: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is an independent, nonprofit, 501(c)3 research institution founded in 1955. Mote began and flourished through the passion of a single researcher, Dr. Eugenie Clark, her partnership with the community and philanthropic support, first of the Vanderbilt family and later of the William R. Mote family.

Today, Mote is based in Sarasota, Florida, with five campuses stretching from Sarasota to the Florida Keys. Mote has more than 20 world-class research programs studying oceans locally to internationally, with an emphasis on conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing the Lab’s research is Mote Aquarium, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at mote.org.


Contact Us:
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla., 34236. 941.388.4441
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