Richie Moretti, right, founder of the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital soothes OD, a 320-pound green sea turtle, as it is measured and examined at the hospital in Marathon, Fla. Because of an irreparable collapsed lung, the turtle cannot be released into the wild. It is scheduled to be loaded on a FedEx flight to Las Vegas early Thursday, July 25, and live out its life at the The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Resort and Casino. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau)
News Release: Associated Press News
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- A rehabilitated green sea turtle has returned to the wild off the Florida east coast.
Pearl was found in December in the Bal Harbour area dehydrated, lethargic and with parasites. The turtle was taken to Miami Seaquarium and has spent months recovering.
The park released the turtle on Thursday at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne.
State wildlife officials say Florida's green turtles are endangered and their numbers in decline.
Long distance swimmer Ben Lecomte was on hand to help release Pearl. He described it as "being close to a very particular time of the life of a sea turtle, like a second chance for it."
Lecomte is attempting to swim the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco later this year.