A rescued sea turtle was given a new lease on life.
Representatives from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, with assistance from Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers, released a rehabilitated juvenile green sea turtle May 10 at Bayfront Park in Anna Maria.
The green turtle — named Shoshi by Dave Ault, the turtle watch volunteer who transported the animal to Mote — was found floating March 26 in Tampa Bay about 15 miles west of north end of Anna Maria Island.
The turtle was rescued and admitted to Mote’s sea turtle rehabilitation hospital in Sarasota.
According to a news release from Mote, the fishermen who found Shoshi reported the turtle was floating in yellow “sludge.” The release said the turtle’s skin was covered in an “unidentified orange material,” it’s scutes were falling off and its eyes were red and encrusted.
After receiving more than a month of medical attention, Shoshi was cleared for release.
“What an exciting start to season,” Suzi Fox, AMITW executive director, said following Shoshi’s release. Sea turtle nesting season officially began May 1 on the island.
The majority of sea turtle nests on the island are laid by loggerhead sea turtles, which adds to the excitement of a green turtle release.
“We’ve sent off Shoshi, now it’s time for the turtle mamas to hit the beach,” Fox said. “We’re ready for them.”
To report a stranded turtle, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
For more information about Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, contact Fox at 941-778-5638.