After suffering from red tide intoxication, Emmie will return to the wild

Clearwater, FL (November 30, 2011) – CMA will be releasing its 15th rehabilitated sea turtle of the year this Thursday. Emmie, a small juvenile green sea turtle, was admitted on October 30 to CMA suffering from extreme lethargy, decreased heart rate and swelling around the eyes and cloacal areas. These symptoms, patterned with the fact that she was rescued from Lee County, pointed towards red tide intoxication. In the previous month, Manatee and Lee Counties documented red tide blooms in the near shore waters. Red tide is a dinoflagellate (single cell organism) called karenia brevis that produces a neurotoxin called brevetoxin which affects the neurosystem of organisms that ingest it either primarily or secondarily by prey items that are contaminated. Luckily for Emmie, she was caught early enough on that the toxin had not damaged her central nervous system too badly and with a few days of supportive fluid therapy, she started bouncing back; her heart rate came back up to a normal range, she became more active in her dry dock, and her eye swelling resolved. Today Emmie is a fast swimming, fast eating, beautiful little green sea turtle. She will be released on Thursday, December 1, in the Charlotte Harbor area.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is currently one of the largest sea turtle rehabilitation facilities in Florida. The in-progress $12 million dollar expansion of CMA includes new, state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities and will double the current capacity for rehabilitating turtles.

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