Gulf World Marine Institute release a loggerhead sea turtle nicknamed "Jaime Lannister" on Feb. 4, 2020 at Laguna Beach in Panama City Beach.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Dozens of beachgoers crowded in to get a glimpse of Gulf World Marine Institute releasing a loggerhead sea turtle on Tuesday in front of the Carousel Supermarket.
Staff carried the 200-pound plus loggerhead over the sand, but it crawled into watery freedom in front of a cheering crowd.
Gulf World Marine Institute Stranding Coordinator Lauren Albrittain said that she was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd that turned out to see the turtle, nicknamed Jaime Lannister, make its way back into the water.
"It’s amazing always to have a big crowd but particularly during the winter," she said. "It was nice to have so many people out here to see Jaime go back to the Gulf of Mexico and (to) see the good work we do."
Pier staff at Okaloosa Pier rescued Jaime on Oct. 5, 2019, after someone noticed that he was unable to dive. The sea turtle was nicknamed by staff "Jaime Lannister" after the "Game of Thrones" character from the books and television show because the turtle was missing a flipper from a previous injury that healed.
In fiction, Jaime Lannister famously loses his sword hand and replaces it with a golden hand.
Staff with Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center removed two circle hooks from his left front flipper and treated him for other wounds that were healing. He was later transferred to Gulf World Marine Institute where they finished his rehabilitation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cleared him for release.
Gulf World Marine Institute asks anyone who sees a stranded or deceased sea turtle, whale or dolphin to immediately report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922.