Saturday, April 9, 2011

1,000 and Counting!

Around SeaWorld Orlando, this loggerhead sea turtles is known as "Mr. 1,000."

He was brought to SeaWorld in September 2010 by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Brevard County after he was found in the wild, suffering from "lockjaw." When he arrived at SeaWorld, he weighed only 72 lbs. Now, after months of hands-on care and TLC by SeaWorld's experts, he weighs over 100 lbs and on March 11 was returned to the waters off Cape Canaveral National Seashore to once again tackle life in the wild.

He's the 1,000 sea turtle to be returned to the wild by the team of turtle experts at SeaWorld Orlando.

Since SeaWorld Orlando's sea turtle rescue program began in 1980, more than 1,530 sea turtles have been cared for by the park's vets and animal team. Each sea turtle was rescued by the staff or brought to the park due to cold stress, injuries from nets, fishing line and hooks, ingestion of trash such as plastic bags, boat strikes, natural causes and most recently, oil contamination.

The team's success rate in caring for turtles with such a wide variety of injuries is amazingly high: 68% of the turtles brought to SeaWorld in the past 30 years have been returned to the wild.

What should you do if you find an injured, orphaned or ill animal?

First, don’t approach the animal – be safe and keep your distance. Next, contact your local wildlife agency and be prepared to detail the animal’s exact location and its condition.

In Florida, contact FWC, 24/7, at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922). In other states contact your local wildlife agency.

SeaWorld is a global leader in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. The park’s Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Team is in on call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to care for all kinds of marine animals including sea turtles -- like "Mr. 1,000" -- dolphins, manatees and whales.

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