The Coastal Star

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Returns Loggerhead Sea Turtle to the Sea

    For the past two decades, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center’s (GLNC) Sea Turtle
Conservation team has rescued sick and injured sea turtles throughout southern Palm Beach County. In January,
2010 efforts were stepped up with the opening of their Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility (STRF). Since then, over
240 injured or diseased sea turtles have been brought to the STRF for treatment. Turf, a sub adult loggerhead
turtle, was found in the intake canal of the St. Lucie Power Plant this past May.
When Turf arrived at GLNC, her prognosis was grim. Weighing only 68 pounds, she was 30‐40 pounds underweight.
STRF staff knew that the chances of this turtle surviving were very slim. Tests determined that Turf was
suffering from a severe blood infection. It is not known exactly how she got the infection, but just like humans,
sea turtles sometimes get sick, too. After emergency triage and 48 hours of critical care, Turf started responding
to medications and treatment, and developed a healthy appetite. She also proved to be one of the most charisma
sea turtles to come into GLNC, where she would often be looking out of her tank window with curiosity at
guests, or even enjoy a belly scratch from staff. After three short months of proper diet and medical treatment,
Turf has made a full recovery and is ready to be sent back to her ocean home.
Ryan Butts, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Coordinator, explained that he and his staff knew that Turf was in critical
condition. “Turf was drastically underweight, and probably had not eaten for several months. Had she not been
rescued at the St. Lucie Power Plant, she probably would not have survived much longer out in the ocean.” said
Butts.
“Turf’s recovery was a wonderful surprise to us all at GLNC.” says Manager, Stefanie Ouelletie. “Many times sea
turtles found in such a declined condition do not survive.”
The public is invited to join Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in the release of Turf on Wednesday, September 4, 2013
at 4:30 pm at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton. Entrance fees to the park will be waived beginning at 3:30 PM for
those attending the release. The release will take place on the beach near the center tunnel. Visitors to the STRF
are invited to sign a large Bon Voyage card though Wednesday. Located at 1801 North Ocean Blvd, the Center is
open 7 days a week, 361 days a year. The suggested donation of $5 per person supports all aspects of the Center.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is committed to coastal and marine education, preservation, conservation, and
research. The Center is a collaborative project between The City of Boca Raton, The Greater Boca Raton Beach
and Park District, Florida Atlantic University, and Friends of Gumbo Limbo, a 501©3 organization.

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