MIAMI – Zoo Miami Animal Health team members successfully released a juvenile Green Sea Turtle back into the wild from Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne Wednesday morning, Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill confirmed.
According to a news release, the turtle was brought to Zoo Miami’s Sea Turtle Hospital on March 13 by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer after being hooked by a recreational fisherman off of the Dania Beach Pier.
Magill said upon arrival at the hospital, the hook was removed by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian. Following closer examination, the turtle was found to have two additional hooks lodged in its esophagus, which Bezjian also successfully removed.
Zoo Miami said Wednesday that the sea turtle has since made a full recovery which allowed for its release.
Getting unintentionally hooked by fishermen or entangled in fishing line is an ongoing challenge for sea turtles.
Zoo Miami is encouraging others to take the following steps in case you accidentally hook a sea turtle while fishing or encounter one tangled in fishing line:
• Gently reel the slack line, keeping the turtle at the surface of the water. Do not lift the turtle above the water by pulling the line.
• You can use a net to bring it to the pier. If you are on shore, gently lift the turtle by its shell to bring it to land.
• Be careful to avoid the head as they are capable of inflicting a serious bite. In addition, adults have large nails on their front flippers that can inflict serious lacerations.
• Call the FWC at 1-888-404-3922.
• Try to keep the turtle in the shade or place a wet towel over the shell to keep the turtle cool.
• You may trim excess fishing line but be sure to leave at least 1-2 feet of extra line with the turtle.
• Please remember, do not attempt to remove hooks or lines from the turtle, wait for help to arrive.