Turtle Tale Has Second Happy Ending

Axle, an endangered turtle with nine lives, is released into the wild, again and again

Lucky might be a better name for a green sea turtle that is being re-released into the wild Tuesday after a second stint being nursed back to health at the Miami Seaquarium.

Or maybe Whiskers would be a good name because this turtle clearly has nine lives after being rescued twice in the past year, most recently from becoming turtle soup.

Miami Seaquarium vets first saved the turtle, who they named Axle, in April 2008 after it had been stranded with multiple wounds. Axle is apparently one tough turtle because he has withstood a boat propeller slicing his head and flipper and a shark bite that nearly ripped open his shell. It took almost a year to get the endangered turtle up to strength to survive in the wild and it was released in March.

But Axle seems to be a magnet for trouble because less than a month after the release, it was captured by three fishermen near North Bay Village. The men packed the green turtle in a cooler and headed for shore, but they were stopped by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers, who were doing a random check.

The officers eventually found the turtle after the men started acting fishy when questioned about their catch. Sea turtles are protected by state and federal laws. It is illegal to take, possess, disturb, mutilate, destroy, sell, transfer, molest or harass marine turtles, nests or eggs. Our buddy Lucky had the law on his side.

Axle was returned to the Miami Seaquarium, where veterinarians gave their return patient a little more TLC. They should have gave him a new name, too.

Even during the re-release, Axle seemed hesitant to leave the only safe place he knows. Who could blame him after being bit by a shark, hit by a boat and almost ending up somebody's main course?

So Tuesday was the second goodbye. Let’s hope this time Lucky can stay out of trouble.

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