Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center successfully releases 9 rehabilitated sea turtles

Pam Griffin
The Destin Log

FORT WALTON BEACH — The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center successfully released nine rehabilitated sea turtles on Tuesday morning at Inlet Beach.

It was a cloudy morning as the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center released its recent sea turtle patients consisting of three different species of turtle, including four Loggerhead sea turtles, three Green sea turtles, and two Kemps Ridley sea turtles. It was the second public-invited release in over a year due to COVID-19.

Staff and volunteers from the CARE Center lift Jaime, an adult female loggerhead weighing 189 lbs., to be placed on the beach for release.

"We had a large group of rehabilitated sea turtles going out this morning," said Patrick Berry, director of the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. "Although the release site, Inlet Beach, was a bit farther away from our home base than the last release, we still had a good crowd of spectators. Sharing these moments with our supporters will never get old and is a rewarding part of what we do here at the C.A.R.E. Center — public awareness, education, and involvement."

Nine turtles total, ranging in weight from 7.5 to 189 pounds. were among those released after successful rehabilitations at the center. Once again, the common ailment with these turtles was being accidentally hooked at nearby fishing piers and additional hook and entanglement removal procedures. 

Spectators watch as Jaime makes her way into the Gulf of Mexico.

"We were happy to see that Jaime, an adult female Loggerhead weighing in at 189 pounds, needed just a short stay with us as she is of breeding age, so getting her back out into the Gulf of Mexico to potentially mate and lay a nest is what makes our efforts come full circle," said Tabitha Siegfried, stranding coordinator at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center. 

The team at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center expect this season to continue to be a busy one for sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation, and release.   

If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured, or deceased please report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922). 

Follow the C.A.R.E. Center on Facebook to learn more about sea turtles and the center's rehabilitation efforts.

The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is proud to act as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online on the C.A.R.E. Center's page.