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Rescued turtle released back into the ocean

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Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

An injured Hawaiian green sea turtle completed a successful journey of recovery this month when it was released back into the ocean thanks to the coordinated efforts of numerous volunteers, students and government agencies.

The 200-plus pound turtle was recovered at Chock’s Beach in Hilo on October 14, 2014 after its flipper had become severely entangled in fishing line. Students from Jennifer Turner’s marine science class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and UH Hilo turtle team members assisted with the initial recovery of the animal, along with members of the University’s Marine Option Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The turtle was transported to rehabilitation facilities on O’ahu where its flipper was amputated. Following a period of healing and recovery, the animal was brought back to Hawai’i Island where it was released in Keaukaha on December 3rd.

Turner, who heads the UH Hilo Turtle Response Team, worked with Zoologist George Balazs of the NOAA fisheries Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center and Biological Science Technician Shandel Brunson of NOAA fisheries to ship the turtle back to Hawai’i Island. Cultural practitioners Roxanne Stewart, Kealoha Pisciotta, and Leimanana Abenes also partnered with the UH Hilo Turtle Response Team to coordinate the animal’s release.

Turtles that become entangled in fishing line often fail to survive because they are not seen, not properly reported, or the entanglement is too severe. If anyone sees a sick, injured or entangled turtle on Hawai’i Island, contact the Turtle Response Team at 327-7780.

A combination video and still of the release courtesy of Rebecca Ziegler is posted at Password: honu.

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