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.

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