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One-eyed sea turtle returns to the wild after months of rehab

Small Fry was found floating by a fisherman in December 2019.
Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — After three months of rehab, a resilient green sea turtle made his way back into the wild Thursday.

Small Fry was found floating by a fisherman back in December 2019, bringing him to Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s surgical site for evaluation. Veterinary staff determined Small Fry had a mild case of fibropapilloma tumors, – including a large one in his left eye.   

The eye tumor was so large that it required removal surgery. Leaving this 10-pound juvenile turtle with a feat to overcome, but one that never stopped him, according to CMA Dr. Shelly Marquardt.

“Small Fry recovered well from surgery and began eating shortly after. We continued to monitor Small Fry’s post-operative progress, but he never showed any complications from the loss of his eye," Dr. Marquardt said.

He was cleared for release at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, where beachgoers gathered as a member of CMA’s rescue team sent Small Fry off into his new home.

Welcome home Small Fry! If you want to see his release for yourself, you're in luck. CMA live-streamed the event earlier today. You can watch it below.

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