This Thursday will be a Holiday like no other.
It was Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center got a call from Florida Fish and Wildlife asking if it could take in Holiday, a loggerhead sea turtle found at a Port St. Lucie power plant with a hook caught in her throat.
“We have no idea how long the hook had been in there, so we had no idea how long it had been affecting her,” says Dr. Maria Chadam, a veterinarian at Gumbo Limbo.
Holiday was slightly malnourished, but otherwise a relatively healthy turtle (with the exception of the fishing hook) when she was admitted. Chadam was able to remove the hook from the turtle’s esophagus, and the sub-adult has made a steady recovery since. Holiday has gained about 10 pounds since being admitted, and she takes an interest in people who peek through the window to her tank, swimming over to greet them.
“She’s definitely ready to go,” Chadam says.
And go she will. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center will release Holiday the loggerhead back into the ocean at Spanish River Park at 4:30 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 16.
“We can take the loggerheads right across to the ocean,” Gumbo Limbo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Coordinator Whitney Crowder says. Even though Holiday was found in Port St. Lucie, she’ll be just fine in the Boca water because loggerheads aren’t as area-specific as other types of turtles.
The public turtle releases can attract up to 1,500 spectators. In 2016, Crowder says the nature center rescued 107 turtles and that turtle populations are rising.
“It’s our payday, being able to release them back into the ocean,” Crowder says.