Rehabilitated sea turtle returns to wild

Pearl the turtle found in December in Bal Harbour

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - A rehabilitated green sea turtle has returned to the wild off the Florida east coast.

Pearl was found in December in the Bal Harbor area dehydrated, lethargic and with parasites. The turtle was taken to Miami Seaquarium and has spent months recovering.

The park released the turtle on Thursday at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne.

State wildlife officials say Florida's green turtles are endangered and their numbers in decline.

Long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte was on hand to help release Pearl. He described it as "being close to a very particular time of the life of a sea turtle, like a second chance for it."

Lecomte is attempting to swim the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco later this year, swimming eight hours a day and sleeping on a little boat.

However, there's an issue plaguing the Pacific Ocean; plastic that has been broken down by the elements and is swirling in a giant vortex in the ocean.

"As a long distance swimmer I've noticed a big difference in the number of plastic floating around," said Lecomte.

So, a little sea turtle was saved Thursday, and maybe someday, the oceans.

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