MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A rehabilitated rare hybrid hawksbill-green sea turtle was fitted with a satellite-tracking transmitter and released at a Florida Keys beach on Friday.
Florida Keys officials say the turtle, named Maisy, will join the ‘Tour de Turtles,’ a marathon-like “race” that follows the long-distance migration of sea turtles over three months.
The migration, which you can track online, begins August 1 and concludes October 31.
“Maisy” is swimming to raise awareness about her affliction when she was rescued, fibropapillomatosis, a herpes-like virus that affects sea turtles around the world. The reptile was rescued almost a year ago off Summerland Key and Turtle Hospital staff’s treatment included multiple tumor removal surgeries, administering antibiotics and a healthy diet of seafood and greens.
Maisy is the first of the hard-shell turtles to be fitted with a satellite transmitter, according to Dan Evans, a senior research biologist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
“Beyond the educational aspect and the awareness is the science behind it,” said Evans. “So especially for Maisy — Maisy’s the first hybrid sea turtle we’ve ever tracked, and she is a cross between a green sea turtle and a hawksbill sea turtle — so for her, it’s gonna be really interesting to see if she goes into habitat that is used by hawksbills or habitat that is used by green turtles.”
Officials said that the turtle that covers the most distance in each Tour de Turtles division is declared that group’s winner.
The public can monitor the racing turtle at tourdeturtles.org.