Home At Last – Cindy the Sea Turtle’s Release

November 16, 2012 at 3:52 am | Posted in Endangered Encounters, For the Family | Leave a comment
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For my regular readers out there, you may remember this beautiful face from my recent trip to Gumbo Limbo.  Cindy, a Loggerhead Sea Turtle, had been brought to their Turtle Hospital back in July after being rescued by fishermen off of Pompano Beach.  She was the victim on a shark attack that in which she lost one of her front flippers and left the other nearly severed.  She also had bite marks on her shell and head, it was a miracle that she escaped alive.  She was in terrible shape when she was brought in and her fate was unkown.  Surgery was done on her front right flipper and it was saved, she fought off the infection, started putting on weight, and made an unbelievable recovery.  Today, 104 days after being admitted to the Turtle Hospital at Gumbo Limbo, Cindy was finally returning to her home in the Atlantic Ocean.

To say Cindy’s release drew a crowd would not do the event justice.  After all, with having spent nearly 4 months at Gumbo Limbo, she had become quite popular with a lot of families.  Young and old, all ages came out to see Cindy’s release, drawing an estimated crowd of nearly 500 people.  Everyone line up from the water up to the dunes, making a path in the middle for Cindy to head out to sea.

So how does a sea turtle make her way down to the shore?  At around 140lbs, she isn’t exactly a lightweight.  Cindy arrived to the beach by way of a baby pool on the back of a Gator.  She was driven to her path as everyone eagerly watch and waited for her to make her way.

After a brief speech by Gumbo Limbo Staff, Cindy was lifted out of the back of the Gator to be brought to the waters egde.  In the photo above, you can see Cindy’s battle wounds, the scars on her front right flipper, and you can see how close she came to losing it.  On this flipper she also sports a new piece of turtle jewlery, her ID tag.

Volunteers set Cindy at the waters edge and she knew where she was.  Cheers and applauding rang out from the crowd as she scooted herself into the water.  Upon hitting the water, she took a sharp right and swam directly at those of us who were lucky enough to be right there.  And just like that, after her brief tour of the shallow water, Cindy turned to the left and headed out to deeper water.  We watched as she crossed over the sand bar and out to sea, cheering her on.

Cindy is living proof of the great work the folks at the Gumbo Limbo Turtle Hospital are doing.  She exceeded all expectations in her recovery and today everyone’s hard work paid off – Cindy is finally home.

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