CLEARWATER, Fla. - UPDATE: The Clearwater Marine Aquarium released one of its smallest (and most adorable) rescues back into the ocean Thursday.
Frito the seahorse was going through rehabilitation after a family snorkeling off of Redington Shores last weekend found her tangled in a fishing line.
Dawn McCartney and her two daughters said they found little Frito among some trash, with the fishing line wrapped around her tiny neck several times.
McCartney says they were snorkeling when they found the small seahorse.
McCartney quickly and carefully picked her up, untangled the line and put her in a water bottle filled with water from the ocean. The woman said that although she lives in the Tampa Bay area, she has been visiting Clearwater for years and knew to call the aquarium for help.
A rescue team from the aquarium picked her up and brought her back to be treated.
Her rescue comes one year after the famous rescue of Cheeto the lucky seahorse, which was watched by millions worldwide, according to aquarium officials. Funyun the seahorse was also rescued a short time after and was treated at the aquarium for a buoyancy issue.
Aquarium officials said Frito’s story is similar to other rescues they see, which often come after the animals are affected by fishing line entanglement. According to CMA officials, line left floating in the ocean threatens many species, including sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, birds and, obviously, sea horses.
The aquarium staff said they treated Frito with care during her rehabilitation process and monitored her progress until she was ready to be released.
"Our mission of rescue, rehabilitation and release applies to all marine life, big and small," CMA CEO David Yates said. "The level of care our team is giving to tiny Frito is inspiring."
Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff released Frito back into the wild on Thursday, in a lush seagrass bed.
CMA’s had a Frito Cam here to monitor's the seahorse's progress before she was released.
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