hs after swimming into the facility, the turtle has returned to open watersReme

June 19, 2009 11:45 AM

Remember Kincaid, the sick sea turtle who checked himself into Florida’s Turtle Hospital by swimming right up to the dock in March? Now recovered, he was released June 14 from the facility in the Florida Keys with a crowd of about 100 well-wishers watching him make his way back to open waters.

When Turtle Hospital staff saw Kincaid lurking in the water covered in barnacles on March 29, they realized right away he was sick and hauled him in. Turns out he had a nasty infection. After months of antibiotics, vitamins and yummy squid, he gained a healthy 10 lbs. from his starting weight of 77 lbs.

It took two men – hospital administrator Ryan Butts and staffer Tom Luebke – to carry him to the Atlantic Ocean near Marathon, Fla., from the hospital’s van. Along the way, he flapped vigorously. “He is so ready to go now. He smells the ocean, I think,” Butts told Fox and Friends. “He’s going to be out catching lobster dinners, hopefully, by nightfall.”

Kincaid became a favorite of the staff and will be missed. But loggerheads are listed as a threatened species, so they were happy to help him back to the wild.

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