2 rescued sea turtles released in Florida Keys after recovery

ISLAMORADA, Fla. (AP) — Two rehabilitated sea turtles, rescued at different times and locations by the U.S. Coast Guard, have been released off the Florida Keys.

“Emma,” a 150-pound (68-kilogram) female loggerhead sea turtle, was recovered in June after she was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean off Islamorada. “Emma” was transported to the Turtle Hospital where treatment included emptying excess air out of her body cavity and a regimen of fluids and vitamins.

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Turtle Hospital staff members including Bette Zirkelbach, middle, and Richie Moretti, right, watch over “Emma,” a loggerhead sea turtle, front, and “Bubbles,” a green sea turtle, back, before they left the dock on a U.S. Coast Guard boat to release the reptiles Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, off Islamorada, Fla. Both turtles were rescued by the Coast Guard in June, suffering from various ailments, and recovered at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital. (Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

“Bubbles,” a 225-pound (100-kilogram) adult female green sea turtle, was found entangled in an abandoned fishing trap line by recreational boaters in mid-June off Long Key. Officers from the Coast Guard station in Marathon assisted Turtle Hospital staff with the rescue.

The entanglement caused irreparable damage to Bubbles’ rear flipper, resulting in amputation surgery. Bubbles was also treated for pneumonia and other issues.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Lees described the rescue and Thursday’s release of the sea turtles as a rare treat.

“It’s fulfilling to see the final result of a turtle rescue,” Lees said. “Rarely do we get to see the actual release of the turtle.”

The Turtle Hospital in the Keys has been rescuing, rehabilitating and returning sea turtles to the wild since 1986.