NAPLES, Fla. - Deadly Red Tide toxins have hurt dozens of shore birds and other marine animals this season. Wink News was on the shore as wildlife conservationists released the world's most endangered sea turtle back home.
On November 10th, a passerby found the turtle floating near Chokoloskee Bay, suffering from the effects of Red Tide. The turtle was transported to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife or CROW.
"It's just really rewarding to see an animal get back in the wild and hopefully contribute to future populations," said CROW's Jordan Dandonini.
After five weeks recovering, the rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was released near Delnore Wiggins Pass State Park near North Naples.
"All sea turtles are endangered, the Kemp's is the most endangered of all the sea turtles. So it makes it a little more special of a moment today," sais Steve Greenstein, the Executive Director of CROW.
"They're almost coma-like, not a lot of movement. They look like they're on death's door," said Dandonini.
But after weeks of fresh food, water and care the patient, known as #3190, was ready to hit the beach.
The release was done mid-week to minimize the possibility of interference from recreational boat traffic which is higher on weekends, especially holiday weekends.
The rehabilitiation process is not cheap.
"We estimate that it cost over $2,000 to care for it. Around $75 dollars a day.
But the end result is priceless.
"Seeing a release is probably the most rewarding experience that anyone at CROW can ever have. For those who have an opportunity to observe it I'm sure they felt the same way," said Greenstein.