Florida Keys News
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Cupid returns home after much TLC

Cupid will start spreading the love in the open ocean on Saturday, as she will be returning back to sea.

The Marathon Turtle Hospital plans to release the adult loggerhead turtle so dubbed on Saturday at Sombrero Beach in Marathon. Hospital officials are inviting public participation.

The Turtle Hospital's team will arrive with Cupid just after 9:30 a.m., and she will be released promptly at 10 a.m., Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach said.

The 150-pound turtle was rescued on Valentine's Day off Marathon. She was found floating, Zirkelbach said.

Cupid had a severe fracture to her head and to the front portion of her shell, which most likely came from a boat hitting her.

"She was really banged up," Zirkelbach said. "She was swimming in circles. We are really excited about her being released."

Cupid was given plenty of time to recover, spending her first couple of months in shallow water fitted with a float harness to allow her fractures to heal, Zirkelbach said.

The reptile was treated with a broad spectrum of antibiotics, vitamins and a healthy diet of squid and fish.

Her injuries have stabilized, she is swimming well and ready to go back to her ocean home, Zirkelbach said.

She is not the only turtle going home this week. Turtle Hospital founder Richie Moretti released a group of hatchlings in the sargassum weed in the Gulf Stream on Thursday.

The Turtle Hospital has been busy so far this nesting season, rescuing about 100 hatchlings, Zirkelbach said.

Most recently, the hospital received three green turtle hatchlings found in the mangroves on Tuesday.

tohara@keysnews.com

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