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Loggerhead turtle continues to be tracked one year later

Posted at 5:39 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 17:39:44-04

A rescued sea turtle is still being tracked one year after being released back into the ocean.

"Mr. T" is an adult loggerhead sea turtle that was treated at The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys last year.

The marine reptile was returned to the ocean May 7, 2019, with a small satellite transmitter on its shell to track migratory patterns of male loggerheads.

Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach said, "It's unusual, but that satellite tag is still on Mr. T and it's still transmitting good information."

The Turtle Hospital says Mr. T has since traveled more than 1,600 miles, spending time in the Atlantic ocean off the Keys and the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida.

Currently Mr. T is near Key Largo.

The Turtle Hospital says it's unusual for a small transmitter to remain on a sea turtle for so long and to keep working, but is likely due to his slow shell growth.

"We do not know much about the adult males. The females come back to shore to nest. The males never come back to shore, so we don't have an opportunity to put satellite tags on them. With this study, we are able to track the males and see where the boys go," Zirkelbach said.

Staff at The Turtle Hospital say the transmitter will fall off eventually.