Loggerhead Marinelife Center Helps 5 Sea Turtles Return Home During Momentous Release That Included A Proposal
Five rehabilitated sea turtles are now happy, healthy and home.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center held one of its biggest sea turtle releases on Tuesday, Oct. 25, introducing five sea turtles—Brie, Bruce, Pearson, Treble and Shertz—back into the ocean. Not surprisingly, more than 400 turtle lovers turned out to show their support, plus one unsuspecting spectator was surprised with a marriage proposal.
Each of the sea turtles was brought into the Juno Beach facility for various reasons. Here's a little about each of them:
- Brie is a sub-adult loggerhead found near Hutchinson Island last spring.
- Bruce is a sub-adult Kemp's ridley (the world's most endangered species of sea turtle) that was found near Hutchinson Island after a shark attack earlier this year.
- Treble and Pearson are both sub-adult loggerheads that were accidentally hooked at the Juno Beach Pier in May.
- Shertz is a juvenile loggerhead that was transferred from the New England Aquarium after the major sea turtle cold-stunning of 2015.
Initially, two of the sea turtles were supposed to be discharged in early October, but the release was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. It turned out all five were ready by the end of the month.
"The time it took after the hurricane for the seas to calm enough to be able to release turtles allowed three more to get healthy," said Dr. Charles Manire, LMC's staff veterinarian and director of research and rehabilitation.
During the sea turtle release, spectator Robert Livingston proposed to his girlfriend, Katie Richmond—marking the first engagement at Loggerhead. Both students at Palm Beach State College, the couple have been dating for four and a half years, and Richmond has always had an affinity for loggerhead, green, and leatherback turtles.
Cherie Richmond, Katie's mother, said Katie once honorarily "adopted" one of Loggerhead's turtles undergoing rehabilitation and even buys nautical ornaments from Loggerhead's gift shop for her family's Christmas celebrations every year.
"Robert decided it was a no-brainer to make a surprise appearance (he was supposed to be at work) at yesterday's turtle release to pop the question, which was also [Katie's] birthday!" Cherie Richmond said.
The family expected it to be a small, unnoticed proposal off to the side, but it turned out to be much more, Katie's mother said.
"Katie was beyond thrilled and completely unaware that it would be anything more than watching her favorite marine animals make their recovered journeys," she said.
The 24-year-olds plan to get married on the beach in winter 2017. The couple's family adopted another turtle, Dory, to commemorate the big day.
Below are photos from the release:
To watch Loggerhead Marinelife Center's complete Facebook Live broadcast, see below: