COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A 200-pound sea turtle named Guacamole returned to the ocean Monday afternoon, after making a full recovery at Brevard Zoo, on the same beach where she was found nearly nine months ago.
The turtle in a half-shell was admitted to Brevard Zoo's Sea Turtle Healing Center in February after she was found at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach missing most of her right flipper and suffering from other injuries. Zoo official said the injuries were likely caused by another animal.
She was named for the popular avocado dip because her shell was covered in green algae.
When she first arrived at the Healing Center, Guacamole was very thin and wasn't eating on her own.
Caretakers documented the sea turtle's long recovery.
Because the turtle's bottom shell was very sunken and soft, Boater's Exchange, a local business, arranged for the creation of a custom waterproof pad "specifically designed to help up treat her comfortably on the platform in her tank," according to officials with the zoo.
When she first arrived, the sea turtle weighed a little more than 200 pounds. Ahead of her release, zookeepers said she now weighs a healthy 263 pounds.
Hundreds of on-lookers gathered to wish Guacamole well as she was released Monday at the same park where she was found. The now healthy turtle hitched a ride to the water on a Brevard County Ocean Rescue vehicle.
Guacamole's caretakers and supporters watched as the sea turtle paddled out in the ocean, her shell slowing fading into the water.