Clearwater Marine Aquarium released two sea turtles, Ranch and Jalapeño Cheddar, at Honeymoon Island on November 2, 2022.
Ranch is a large juvenile, almost subadult, green sea turtle who was found floating offshore of Belleair Beach on June 17. Ranch does have a deformity to their caudal carapace (shell) and previous carapace injuries that are healed. Diagnostics showed that Ranch had gastrointestinal gas which was treated with medications. Due to Ranch’s intermittent buoyancy while in rehab, Ranch underwent a deep-water swim evaluation to assess their buoyancy disorder. Ranch was able to stay submerged and forage in a 15 feet deep-water pool with no issues! Ranch has now been cleared for release by our veterinarian and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission!
Jalapeño Cheddar is a juvenile green sea turtle who was found washed ashore in St. Pete on March 24. Jalapeno was extremely lethargic, thin, and covered in a large amount of epibiota, especially sea squirts! Jalapeno is a patient who has had a drastic change physically while undergoing rehab! Jalapeño gained 6 lbs. in our care and underwent several fibropapilloma tumor removal surgeries. Jalapeño had a severe tumor on the left eye that caused that eye to be enucleated (removed entirely). Sea turtles are still releasable with one eye! Jalapeño has come a very long way, and our team is very excited that they have been cleared for release by our veterinarian and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission!
All sea turtles were cleared for release by our veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We wish them all the best back in the wild!
All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-21/22-172A.