Rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle rescued near Ponce Inlet recovering at Marine Science Center

Photo for Headline Surfer® by Melissa Ranly / This rare turtle species accidentally hooked by a fisherman March 4, in the Atlantic surf is recovering at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida, as shown here. Editor's Note: Michael Sowell originally wrote this news item as part of a service project for a media relations class he is taking at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said Pat Kuehn.
 
By Michael Sowell
For Headline Surfer®

PONCE INLET, Fla. – A rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is recovering at the Marine Science Center after being accidentally hooked by a man fishing in Ponce Inlet eight days ago.

Local beach-goers brought the 10.5-pound juvenile turtle to the sea turtle hospital. The Kemp’s ridley is a critically endangered species and is considered the rarest sea turtle found in Florida.

Immediately after its arrival, the turtle was examined and provided fluids and pain medication. Turtle Rehabilitation Manager Melissa Ranly removed the fisherman’s hook and treated a gash on the turtle’s shoulder.

Later in the day, an X-ray revealed that this was not the turtle’s first encounter with a fishing hook. It became apparent that a previous fisherman had caught the turtle, but was only able to remove part of the hook. The remainder of the hook had lodged itself deep within the turtle’s esophagus. Staff veterinarian Dr. Craig Pelton performed an endoscopy on the turtle on Monday and removed the hook.

Marine Science Center Director Michael Brothers emphasized the lesson to be learned from this turtle’s situation: “This case shows how important it is to bring sea turtles caught by hook into the sea turtle hospital, rather than just cutting the line.”

Brothers added that fishing hooks will not work themselves out and will “ultimately become infected.” Despite the hook, the sea turtle is in stable condition and is recovering in a pool at the MSC’s intensive care unit.

Marine Scence Center Director Mike Brothers / Headline Surfer®Marine Science Center Director Michael Brothers emphasized the lesson to be learned from this turtle’s situation: “This case shows how important it is to bring sea turtles caught by hook into the sea turtle hospital, rather than just cutting the line.”

Brothers added that fishing hooks will not work themselves out and will “ultimately become infected.” Despite the hook, the sea turtle is in stable condition and is recovering in a pool at the MSC’s intensive care.

Marine Science Center SC patrons can view the turtle from the hospital’s observation deck.

FAST FACTS 
The Marine Science Center is an environmental learning center providing rehabilitation for sick and injured sea turtles and seabirds. Visitors can learn about marine life in the center’s exhibit hall, which includes a 1,400-gallon touch pool, a 5,000-gallon artificial reef aquarium, living reef, octopus and moray eel exhibits, and a gift shop. They also can watch turtles and birds receive specialized care, visit habitats for bald eagles and wading birds, walk along the nature trail and climb the observation tower.  
 
Did You Know?
Since opening in 2002, the MSC has cared for more than 17,000 sea turtles and more than 1,300 gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and snakes. The Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility at the MSC has received more than 13,000 birds since opening in 2004. For more information, please call 386-304-5545 or go online to www.marinesciencecenter.com.
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.