For loggerhead sea turtles Jax and Gru, Tuesday marked the start of a second life.
The animals, which have been under the care of staff at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, were released into the waters of Juno Beach in front of a crowd of more than 700 onlookers.
The release marked the end of a long journey to recovery that started this summer.
Jax, a juvenile loggerhead, was found floating in the surf of Jensen Beach Park in June. Bloodwork determined Jax was severely anemic and hypoglycemic. He was also underweight, coming in at 47 pounds. But after months of care and some intravenous nutrition, fluids and antibiotics, a nearly 70-pound Jax was ready to make his way back to the open water.
That’s not to say he didn’t appreciate his recovery time at the center, though. Calling Jax “quite the snoozer,” a Loggerhead representative said Jax enjoyed sleeping underneath the artificial ledge in his tank.
Gru, meanwhile, was admitted in July after being hooked by a fisherman at the Juno Beach Pier. The turtle had two small hooks in the base of his right front flipper and another in his mouth. He was also lethargic and hypoglycemic but soon began receiving antibiotics and a calcium supplement.
View photos from before and during the release, courtesy of Loggerhead Marinelife Center: