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Earth Day: Rehabilitated sea turtle released in Florida Keys

Typically, sea turtles admitted to the facility are named by their rescuers.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Bette Zirkelbach, front left, and Richie Moretti, front right, manager and founder respectively of the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, release "Sparb," a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, Thursday, April 22, 2021, at Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Fla. The reptile was found off the Florida Keys in late January 2021 with severe wounds and absent a front right flipper. It was not expected to survive but was treated with a blood transfusion, extensive wound care, broad-spectrum antibiotics, IV nutrition and laser therapy. The turtle made a full recovery and was returned to the wild in conjunction with Thursday's Earth Day celebrations.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Bette Zirkelbach, front left, and Richie Moretti, front right, manager and founder respectively of the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, release "Sparb," a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, Thursday, April 22, 2021, at Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Fla. The reptile was found off the Florida Keys in late January 2021 with severe wounds and absent a front right flipper. It was not expected to survive but was treated with a blood transfusion, extensive wound care, broad-spectrum antibiotics, IV nutrition and laser therapy. The turtle made a full recovery and was returned to the wild in conjunction with Thursday's Earth Day celebrations. [ ANDY NEWMAN | AP ]
Published Apr. 23
Updated Apr. 23

MARATHON — Staff from the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital released a rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle back to the ocean on Thursday to mark Earth Day.

Nicknamed “Sparb,” the 125-pound (57-kilogram) sub-adult sea turtle was rescued in late January after being discovered floating offshore, unable to dive, with severe wounds and a missing front right flipper.

Typically, sea turtles admitted to the facility are named by their rescuers. Among Sparb’s rescuers was a Keys resident who wished to honor her late husband, who had that nickname and lost his right leg.

When the endangered reptile arrived at the Turtle Hospital, it was in critical condition and was not expected to survive. Treatment included a whole blood transfusion, broad-spectrum antibiotics, extensive wound care, laser therapy, fluids, vitamins and a nourishing diet of fish and squid.

Beyond Earth Day, individuals can make a difference regarding the environment, Turtle Hospital manager Bette Zirkelbach said.

“We are at that sweet spot in time, there’s an awareness,” Zirkelbach said. “I really believe that today with awareness that every day is Earth Day.

The Turtle Hospital has been rescuing, rehabilitating and returning turtles to the wild for more than 35 years.