Rare sea turtle in red tide-related distress corralled, brought to FWC and CROW for rehab

While patrolling around Coon Key in the Gulf, Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies…

Rare sea turtle in red tide-related distress corralled, brought to FWC and CROW for rehab 1
Rare sea turtle in red tide-related distress corralled, brought to FWC and CROW for rehab 2

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Raw video: Loggerhead sea turtle released back into wild after stint at CROW

Raw video: Loggerhead sea turtle released back into wild after stint at CROW. Turtle spent two months at hospital recovering from red tide poisoning

Andrew West, Fort Myers News-Press

A rare Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle in distress in the Gulf of Mexico was captured by two Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies and delivered to wildlife rehabilitators.

While patrolling the area of the Coon Key slow zone Saturday, Sheriff’s Office deputy Kyle Hargis and Lieutenant Tim Galloway came upon a fatigued sea turtle in obvious distress.

After several unsuccessful attempts, Hargis was able to recover the rare and endangered species with an assist from Fort Myers Beach residents Craig and Connie Schultz.

By the way: Concerns rise over sea turtle deaths as red tide counts spike in Bonita, North Naples

Is red tide to blame? Sick and dying shorebirds are turning up on and around Sanibel again

And: Florida game commissioners extend snook, redfish closures as red tide lingers along coast

While enroute to the Punta Rassa boat ramp aboard an LCSO boat, the turtle became active and began chomping at the deputies’ feet, earning the nick-name “Pacman.”

Once at Punta Rassa, officials from the Florida Wildlife Commission and the Sanibel-based Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, took over caring for the turtle.

Biologists quickly assessed the 5- to 10-year-old female was suffering from a red tide-related issue. The officials also gave the turtle a good recovery prognosis.

And, after learning the turtle was not a male, deputies Hargis and Galloway changed her new name to “Miss Pacman.”

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook)@MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.


Rare sea turtle in red tide-related distress corralled, brought to FWC and CROW for rehab 3

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