Posted On: September 11, 2018
After three months of rehabilitation at the Marine Science Center turtle hospital, a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle will return to the sea.
Staff plans to release Kukui at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, 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. Guests can also park at the Marine Science Center and walk to the beach.
Beachgoers discovered Kukui stranded on the shore in New Smyrna Beach on June 22. The sea turtle, which weighed 189 pounds, was transported to the Marine Science Center by members of the New Smyrna Beach Marine Turtle Conservancy, also known as the NSB Turtle Trackers. Staff determined that the turtle was mildly dehydrated, slightly anemic and underweight. Further diagnostics revealed pneumonia. Treatment included antibiotics, vitamin injections, fluids with electrolytes and dextrose, and a healthy diet of fish. Kukui now weighs 207 pounds and has been medically cleared for release.
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 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.marinesciencecenter.com or call 386-304-5545.