On May 6, SeaWorld Orlando rescued their 303rd sea turtle of 2010. As are many rehabilitated turtles, this large male presented itself covered in barnacles and emaciated. The Animal Rescue Team placed the 270-pound turtle on antibiotics and cleaned him of his barnacles. He has begun eating on his own and is planned to be released in the San Carlos Bay once he has fully recovered. So far (presently June), SeaWorld has rescued 304 turtles and has released 245, in 2010 alone. SeaWorld is currently the leader in endangered sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation.
Loggerhead turtles are omnivorous marine reptiles, living in almost all parts of the world where temperatures remain above 60*F. Florida is a particularly popular destination for the turtles, building up to 67,000 nests each year on the state's coasts. They are most active during the day, dividing their waking hours between resting and searching for food. Sea turtles are one of only a few animals that prey upon jellyfish, although most other marine life is also on their list of edibles (even sponges and corals). They ordinarily only stay underwater for fifteen to twenty minutes before coming to the surface for a breath, but have the ability to stay underwater for up to four hours.
Loggerheads, along with all of their sea turtle cousins, are considered to be an endangered species. Most turtles are harmed as a byproduct of fishing-- becoming entangled in nets. USA shrimpers' mandated Turtle Excluder Devices have reduced the number of sea turtles caught in fishing nets substantially, keeping turtles and other large creatures physically unable to be caught. Turtle nesting areas have also shrunk over time, as their beaches have become developed. Development of cities and the lights they produce have disrupted sea turtles' nests, as newly hatched turtles use the reflection of the moonlight over the ocean to guide them to water. Conservation campaigning has lowered the demand for turtle meat, as it is now almost globally illegal to consume.
via WINK News