Green sea turtle returns to wild after 20-month rehab in Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A juvenile green sea turtle was released back into the wild at Honeymoon Island Park after 20 months of rehabilitation at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Staff and volunteers at the aquarium took in the young sea turtle, who they named Williamson, in 2019 when a member of the public found him floating in Crystal River.

“When Wiliamson arrived at CMA, we noticed that he had a large amount of algae with barnacles and leeches on his shell,” said Dr. Shelly Marquardt. “He also had a minor case of fibropapilloma tumors which we have seen to be fairly common in green sea turtles,” said Marquardt. “In addition to all of this, Williamson had old, partially healed wounds on his shell which gave him a “hump” appearance and impacted his buoyancy.”

A September CT scan showed he had spinal trauma making him have issues with buoyancy, or his ability to float.

After more than a year of no new tumors, Williamson showed he could dive and rest on the bottom of a pool without issues and was cleared for return to the wild by Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s veterinarian and FWC.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has 13 other sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation at their marine life hospital. You can learn more online.

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