Several hundred people gathered at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area to see a loggerhead sea turtle returned to the Atlantic Ocean.
On Wednesday morning, the 120-pound female loggerhead completed a long recovery. The turtle was cold-stunned back in December, a condition caused by sudden drops in ocean temperature.
Loggerheads cannot regulate their own body temperatures and, once cold stunned, they become highly susceptible to injury, attack, and infection.
After being rescued from the Outer Banks, the loggerhead was treated for anemia, lethargy, and malnourishment at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the Roanoke Island Aquarium in Manteo. In January of this year, the loggerhead was moved to Fort Fisher.
Before release, the loggerhead was tagged with a microchip-similar to those available for dog and cat owners in addition to an external tag on its rear flippers.
Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at 252-241-7367.
Article first appeared on PortCityDaily.com