KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (WSVN) - Zoo Miami’s Animal Health team members have successfully released a juvenile green sea turtle back into the wild after being treated for hook injuries.

On Wednesday, the turtle was released from Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, following a two-week stay at Zoo Miami’s Sea Turtle Hospital.

The turtle was brought to the hospital by an Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer on March 13 after being hooked by a recreational fisherman off of the Dania Beach Pier.

Upon arrival, Dr. Marisa Bezjian, Associate Veterinarian at Zoo Miami, removed the hook from the turtle’s mouth.

Further examination revealed two additional hooks lodged in the turtle’s esophagus, which were also successfully removed by Bezjian.

After making a full recovery, the turtle was deemed fit for release. However, the incident highlights the ongoing challenge sea turtles face with unintentional injuries caused by fishermen.

If you accidentally hook a sea turtle while fishing or encounter one entangled in the fishing line, experts recommend taking the following steps:

  • Gently reel in the slack line, keeping the turtle at the surface of the water.
  • Do not lift the turtle above the water by pulling the line.
  • You can use a net to bring it to the pier or gently lift it by its shell if you are on shore.
  • Call FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC from your cellular phone and keep the turtle in the shade or place a wet towel over its shell to keep it cool.
  • Remember not to attempt to remove hooks or lines from the turtle as this could cause further injury.
  • Wait for help to arrive.

Zoo Miami’s Animal Health team members, along with FWC officers, remind the public to take care when fishing and to be vigilant for the safety of sea turtles.

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