After a little more than a month of rehabilitation at the Marine Science Center turtle hospital, two juvenile green sea turtles will return to the sea Wednesday.
Staff plans to release Ixora and Ulmus at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, at the Beach Street Ramp in Ponce Inlet. The release, which is dependent on weather and surf conditions, will occur on the north side of the ramp in the no-driving zone. Paid beach parking is available on the south side of the ramp (tide permitting) or guests can enjoy a short walk from the Marine Science Center.
Ixora is a juvenile green sea turtle that was found May 12 washing into the docks at a marina inshore in Ponce Inlet. The turtle had a buoyancy issue and was initially unable to dive. The turtle also had an electrolyte imbalance and low blood glucose level that caused it to become lethargic. Ixora was treated with intravenous dextrose and fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and calcium. The buoyancy quickly resolved and under its medical plan the turtle was able to make a speedy recovery. Ixora now weighs 5 pounds.
Ulmus is a juvenile green sea turtle that was found March 16 entangled in fishing line, floating just inside the mouth of the Ponce de Leon Inlet. The turtle was underweight, dehydrated, lethargic and covered in barnacles and algae, which indicates that it had been debilitated for some time. Ulmus was treated with antibiotics, vitamins, anti-parasitic medication and fluids. Ulmus has made a full recovery and now weighs almost 8.5 pounds.
According to rehabilitation manager Melissa Ranly, the Marine Science Center has treated 86 sea turtles, as well as 51 other reptiles including gopher tortoises, box turtles, freshwater turtles and snakes already in 2018.
The Marine Science Center is open to the public at 100 Lighthouse Drive, Ponce Inlet. Visitors may view the turtle hospital and walk through a marine display area and seabird rehabilitation center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information, visit www.marinesciencecenter.com or call 386-304-5545.