Chipi Mote Marine Casey Key

Helping return a sea turtle named Chipi to the Gulf of Mexico at Casey Key on March 25 were, from left, Weston Spoon, Courtney Hessell and Lynne Byrd.

CASEY KEY — A loggerhead rehabilitated after red tide troubles in October 2019 has been released back into the Gulf of Mexico.

The release took place Wednesday on Casey Key, according to officials with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

According to the facility, Chipi was found stranded on Oct. 28, 2019, in Charlotte County. A resident reported a “lethargic” turtle at the Boca Grande Pass.

The resident was given the chance to name the loggerhead, as per Mote custom, and named it “Chipi,” after his dog, according to a news release.

“Chipi showed lethargy and neurological issues likely due to red tide exposure,” the news release states.

The case report notes the loggerhead “was found floating and swimming in circles.”

Chipi received about 150 days of care at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital. He was slowly reintroduced to water until he could swim, and “resumed somewhat normal sea turtle behavior.” He ate some shrimp and squid and began to gain weight. He was also given a deworming treatment for his gastrointestinal problems.

Mote, like most other places, is closed to the public because of COVID-19. But, it said, its mission of “marine science, education and animal rescue continues.

“Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital and many other programs continue working around the clock to help our oceans,” the news release states.

It also thanked the Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust for recent assistance. The trust is currently matching donations of up to $500.

For more information on that, contact Mote Director of Development Andria Piekarz at 941-388-4441, ext. 352.

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