230-pound loggerhead sea turtle released in Boca Raton
Last night, nearly 500 people gathered at Spanish River park beach in Boca Raton to bid farewell to Wannanosaurus — a 230-pound loggerhead sea turtle.
Whitney Crowder, the sea turtle coordinator at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, said the turtle was attacked by a shark and found in St. Lucie County on March 16.
“We did intensive therapy. We treated his wounds with maggots — medicinal maggots — and it healed up really quickly," Crowder said. "We also treated him with some raw honey and broad spectrum antibiotics and fluids. He’s healthy and fiesty and ready to go."
Maggots helped remove the dead and infected tissues and naturally disinfected the wound. Raw, unprocessed honey was used as a natural antibacterial and antifungal.
The Gumbo Limbo sea turtle rehabilitation facility treats dozens of sea turtles each year and is funded by its nonprofit organization, Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards.
Crowder’s daughter, 10-year old Waverley, has seen these releases before: “It just makes me so happy that he’s going back home and he doesn’t have to be in a tank anymore.”
She said she’s convinced her friends not to use single-use plastic water bottles. The most common form of trash in the oceans is plastic, which breaks down into microplastics.
Young sea turtles live in large floating mats of seaweed which form along the strong currents of the Gulfstream. They live in this habitat for several years and cannot differentiate food from trash. They fill up their tiny stomachs with microplastics, starve and die. Events like this one help educate people on the matter.
Gumbo Limbo attached a satellite transmitter to his shell. You can follow him on his journey through the ocean at gumbolimbo.org.