A 350-pound loggerhead sea turtle was returned to the ocean in Vero Beach after eight months of rehabilitation.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue Team and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers released the sea turtle Wednesday.

The 20-year-old female loggerhead was the largest sea turtle ever treated by the SeaWorld team. She was found lethargic and covered in algae last August at Tracking Station Park in Vero Beach.

SeaWorld veterinarians discovered after analyzing her blood work that she had a significant parasite problem. The turtle was treated with antibiotics and anti-parasitic medications to clear her system. The team also healed injuries on her front flippers.

Since 1978, loggerheads have been a threatened species, which means they are in danger of becoming extinct. Named for their exceptionally large heads, the wide-ranging sea turtle’s population has declined from pollution, shrimp trawling and development in their nesting areas.

Anyone who spots an injured marine animal should call the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922 or dial *FWC on a cell phone.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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