Loggerhead Marinelife Center to Release Endangered Sea Turtle This Saturday

WHAT: A 21.23 pound juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) will complete its transition from rescue to release on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (weather and surf permitting) with help from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) rehabilitation staff and volunteers that have cared for it since November 21, 2010. The public is invited to attend Cletus’ release into the wild beachside at Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach.

Cletus came to Loggerhead Marinelife Center with trauma to the head and several corneal ulcerations.

BACKGROUND: Cletus, an endangered green sea turtle, was caught in the intake canal at the Port St. Lucie Power Plant. It sustained trauma to the head and several corneal ulcerations. During the sea turtle’s 62-day stay at LMC’s Gordon & Patricia Gray Veterinary Hospital in Juno Beach, it received antibiotic injections; topical antibiotics to treat its corneal ulcers; and medication for pain. The sex of Cletus is unknown due to its age. Having received medical clearance by Staff Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Mettee, Cletus will be the first sea turtle to be released by LMC in 2011. Here’s a pre-release video of Cletus taken today:

LOCAL GREEN TURTLES: LMC biologists recorded a record 1,119 green sea turtle nests in Juno Beach in 2010, compared with the prior record of 964 Juno Beach green sea turtle nests set in 2002; There were a total of 1,926 green sea turtle nests counted along 9.8 miles of shoreline in Juno Beach, Jupiter and Tequsta in 2010; Of the 172 sea turtles admitted to the LMC hospital last year, 124 were green sea turtles.

Cletus munches on lettuce in his temporary home at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.

GREEN TURTLE FACTS: Listed as Endangered under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act; Become herbivorous when they reach adulthood; Named for greenish color of body fat; Medium to large sea turtle, nesting females in Florida average 3.3 feet in length and 300 pounds in weight; Hatchlings are two inches long; Nest in Florida from June through late September; Survival in Florida threatened by beach lighting, habitat alterations and drowning in fishing gear.

WHEN: Preparations to release Cletus will begin at LMC (14200 US Highway One, Juno Beach) at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 22, 2011. Cletus will be released into the wild on the beach at Loggerhead Park at 12:00 p.m. Media and the public may attend one or both events.

Cletus is ready to be released back into the wild on Saturday, January 22nd at 12 p.m.

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