Canadian Couple Rescues and Releases 200-Pound Sea Turtle in Florida Keys

“Ida” the sea turtle is back swimming off the Florida Keys.
“Ida,” the sea turtle is back swimming off the Florida Keys. Florida Keys & Key West Photo via Facebook

A 200-pound sea turtle named Ida is making waves like never before as she steals the spotlight off the Florida Keys. Thanks to a rescue effort spearheaded by a Canadian couple, the adult loggerhead sea turtle is back in action in the Atlantic Ocean off Sombrero Beach in Marathon, located in the Middle Keys.

On 20JAN, as dozens of spectators watched and applauded, Ida was released into the ocean after she was discovered on 18JAN by recreational boaters off the Keys entangled in a lobster trap buoy line.

"It makes you feel really good to do a good thing like that," said Ida Short, a New Brunswick, Canada, resident who, with her husband, found the turtle struggling. "She weighed 200 pounds… she's a big girl!"

Honouring Short's good deed, the turtle was named "Ida."

The Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital team joined the U.S. Coast Guard to rescue the female marine turtle and bring her to the Turtle Hospital for treatment. According to a press release, after a quick recovery that left even the sea doctors in awe, Ida was ready to dip her flippers back into the ocean.

Short had advice for other anglers and boaters enjoying the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: "There's turtles out there all over when you're fishing," said Short. "They're popping up; just watch and make sure that they're okay."

The Turtle Hospital opened 38 years ago in Marathon as the world's first state-licensed veterinary sea turtle hospital. The facility, equipped with "turtle ambulances" for patient transport, has treated, rehabilitated, and released thousands of injured sea turtles and assisted scores of hatchlings gone astray after exiting their nests.

The heartwarming tale of Ida's triumphant return to the sea serves as an inspiring reminder for all travellers to become stewards of the ocean and champions of the land and seascapes we love to visit.

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