CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Three sea turtles are back in their natural habitats after being rehabilitated at a facility in Florida.
All three rehabbed at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Florida's Gulf Coast after being brought to the facility over the past few months. Two of the turtles are green sea turtles, and the third is a Kemp's ridley turtle, aquarium officials said in a news release.
Sparkler, a juvenile green sea turtle, was released Thursday at Fred Howard Park. Two others — Toast, a large green sea turtle, and Loaf, a Kemp's ridley turtle — were released on Monday in Homosassa, which is north of Tampa.
Sparkler was found July 4 suffering from a severe fibropapillomatosis tumor on its left front flipper and minor tumors on both eyes. The tumors were surgically removed by aquarium veterinarians.
Loaf was accidentally caught by a fisherman on Aug. 3, and aquarium staff removed hooks from its esophagus, officials said.
Toast was spotted in a wooded area in north Florida on Oct. 9, possibly due to Hurricane Idalia. The turtle was in relatively good condition and cleared for release.
A fourth juvenile Kemp's ridley turtle was released earlier in October after rehabbing at the aquarium.
Both Kemp’s ridley turtles and green sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act and listed as endangered.