Published: May 27, 2010 8:35 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2010 5:36 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. - Caring for SeaWorld’s 303rd endangered turtle patient of the year is no small task for park aquarists. The recently rescued reptile is a three-foot, 270-pound loggerhead, found in the waters of San Carlos Bay near Ft. Myers, Fla. on May 6.

The large male was seen floating to one side for several days. Emaciated and covered in barnacles, his condition was most likely caused by ingesting a foreign object. Immediately upon his arrival at SeaWorld’s Animal Rehabilitation Center, aquarists began removing the barnacles and treating him with antibiotics.

Veterinarians performed x-rays in search of internal injuries. The animal has begun to eat on his own as the Animal Rescue Team hopes to eventually return him back to San Carlos Bay.

SeaWorld is a global leader in the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered se turtles. This year the park has rescued 304 turtles and released 245. Now through August is loggerhead sea turtle nesting period, a critical time period for the preservation of this species.

Pictured: SeaWorld aquarists Kate Grimaldi, left, and Lateesha Hektner measure an endangered loggerhead sea turtle at the park’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.