Loggerhead Sea Turtle Released off South Florida

The 195-pound female turtle called Kahuna was released Saturday into the ocean off Juno Beach

Sunday, Jul 8, 2012  |  Updated 11:52 AM EDT
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A Loggerhead turtle hatchling begins its life-long sojourn in the Mediterranean Sea soon after it was freed by Israeli ecologists after being trapped in its 40 cm deep nest at a protected hatchery on Betzet beach, at first light August 24, 2006 near the northern Israel town of Nahariya. From transplanting turtle nests during the nesting season to protected beaches, through the rescue and treatment of wounded turtles brought in by fishermen or washed up on Israel's shores, to the development of a long-range breeding program for the threatened Green turtles, the volunteers and staff of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority are doing their best to protect the creatures, whose numbers have dwindled in the Mediterranean to an estimated 350 nesting female Green turtles and about 2500 nesting female Loggerheads. Far removed from man-made obstacles and protected from their natural predators such as crabs, foxes and birds, the hatchlings make their race to the sea with the hope than more than 20 years later they will return to the same beach to ensure the species survival.

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A loggerhead sea turtle rehabilitated in South Florida has been released back into the wild.

The 195-pound female turtle called Kahuna was released Saturday into the ocean off Juno Beach.

When Kahuna was found near a power plant two years ago, half of one flipper had been cut off and another flipper was badly injured. Veterinarians at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center say the turtle also suffered from a severe bone infection that resisted antibiotics.

The infection was cured only after the turtle underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a rarity in veterinary medicine.

Kahuna carries a GPS tracker that will chart the turtle's movements over the next year. The center's director of research and rehabilitation tells The Palm Beach Post (http://bit.ly/PrxsM1) that Kahuna is relatively young and could produce thousands of offspring.

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