Jan 19

SeaWorld Orlando returns "Big Mama" and other sea turtles to the wild today

by Staff

Last December brought colder-than-normal weather to Florida. And as the temperatures dropped, so came the need to respond to wildlife suffering from cold stress. Dozens of sea turtles were rescued by SeaWorld Orlando or brought to the park by local sea turtle wildlife experts and the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC).

After spending get-well time at SeaWorld Orlando's rehabilitation facility, 14 sea turtles were returned to the wild today by the SeaWorld team.

Two green sea turtles – including “Big Mama,” a massive 250 lb female – were released to the waters of the Banana River near Kelly Park on Florida's east coast and the remaining 12 were released further south, into the lagoon at Sebastian Inlet State Park.

Interesting fact: Green sea turtles are the 2nd most-common nesting turtle. Each May-June, they lay their eggs on Florida’s east coast. A “PIT” tag microchip (similar to ones used on our own pets) was placed under "Big Mama's" skin and if she is rescued again -- or if she’s seen nesting – the chip will allow wildlife experts to quickly scan her flipper and get important background information.

The animals released today were the first sea turtles to be returned by SeaWorld’s team this year.

SeaWorld’s rescue team is on call 24/7 to care for injured, orphaned or ill animals including turtles, manatees, dolphins and birds.

Visiting SeaWorld Orlando and want to learn more about the park's rescue efforts? Take a behind-the-scenes tour. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/gEt6fd

Above: Big Mama is returned to the waters of the Banana River in Florida.

Above: A beautiful face and shell.

Above: The "PIT" tag under Big Mama's skin is checked before she's returned to the wild.