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Clearwater Marine Aquarium releases green sea turtle after lengthy rehab

CMA says "Williamson" was originally found last year floating in the Crystal River.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Staff and volunteers with Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Tuesday successfully returned a juvenile green sea turtle to the Gulf of Mexico after a lengthy period of rehabilitation.

The aquarium announced in a news release that the sea turtle given the name "Williamson" was released at Honeymoon Island Park in Pinellas County. They say the sea turtle had been in their care for 20 months and was the 20th successfully rehabilitated sea turtle to be released by the aquarium this year.

"When Wiliamson arrived at CMA, we noticed that he had a large amount of algae with barnacles and leeches on his shell," said Dr. Shelly Marquardt. "He also had a minor case of fibropapilloma tumors which we have seen to be fairly common in green sea turtles."

CMA says Williamson was originally found floating in the Crystal River. A CT scan revealed the sea turtle had trauma to his spine that was affecting his buoyancy, according to the aquarium. Issues with buoyancy can prevent sea turtles from diving for food or evading predators. 

It took more than a year for Williamson to prove he could continuously dive for food before being cleared for release. 

CMA says there are currently 13 other sea turtles rehabbing at its marine hospital. Learn more here

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