Rehabiltated sea turtle fitted with tracker back home in Gulf of Mexico

Sarasota County

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – A loggerhead sea turtle rehabilitated by Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium was released back into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.

\According to Mote, on April 4, a citizen reported an entangled turtle to Mote’s 24/7 Stranding Investigations Program hotline.

A crab trap was severely embedded in thr turtle’s neck and wrapped around its front flippers.

“In addition to being entangled in the crab pot, he had an old boat-strike wound, so he had already dealt with human interaction before and survived that without our help,” said Gretchen Lovewell, Mote’s Stranding Investigators Program Manager.

“Unfortunately, usually that’s not the case. So he’s definitely got a lot of stories to tell us.”

Mote’s team brought the turtle back to its sea turtle rehabilitation hospital with assistance from the Sarasota Police Department.

The male loggerhead turtle was nicknamed “JT.”

Mote said that during rehabilitation, JT began quickly eating and was put on an antibiotic.

He was returned to the Gulf of Mexico in Venice.

“I think he probably is one of the biggest turtles in my 11 years at Mote. Fortunately we have an awesome team and a lot of strong people, and he was a bit more reasonable than some of our other turtles, so he was at least calm and kind of helped us out a little bit, which was nice,” said Lovewell.

JT was given a satellite tag prior to being released.

Male sea turtles do not return to land, like females do to nest, unless they are injured or sick, according to Mote.

By satellite tagging male turtles, scientists can learn more about their behavior after their release. Such knowledge include habitat, home range and migratory patterns.

You can follow JT’s track with Mote online.

If you see a distressed or deceased sea turtle, manatee dolphin or male in Manatee or Sarasota counties, contact Mote’s Strandings Investigations Program via their 24-hour hotline at 941-988-0212.

For other Florida counties, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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