Green Guide

Turtle treated for tumors released, will be tracked

Posted November 16, 2020 4:10 a.m. EST

— A juvenile green sea turtle was outfitted with a satellite transmitter when released from the beach on the border of St Johns and Flagler counties recently, and will be tracked for research purposes.

According to The St. Augustine Record, this is the first satellite tagged patient rehabbed from the Sea Turtle Hospital at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory. The satellite is affixed onto the back of the turtle's shell.

The turtle, dubbed “Richard Dawkins,” stranded on April 22 and underwent rehabilitation at Whitney Laboratory. When Richard stranded, it was debilitated and impacted by tumors characteristic of the fibropapillomatosis disease, one that the hospital treats and researches.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the team did not know the gender of the turtle. Richard turned out to be a female.

Tracking green turtles of Richard’s size, particularly during the winter months, will provide important project data about where turtles of this size go in the winter and where they eat.

Richard was released into the wild on Nov. 4.

“We are lucky to have a ‘large-for-us’ sized turtle that fit the size requirements for a satellite tag. It’s exciting to see Richard’s movements so far and share his journey with the public,” said Catherine Eastman, Sea Turtle Hospital Program Manager, in a release.

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