Brevard Zoo to release pair of sea turtles near Cocoa Beach

Two sea turtles were treated for illnesses and injuries over the past few months

Debbi the Green Sea Turtle (Brevard Zoo)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Brevard Zoo is set to release two sea turtles into the ocean near Cocoa Beach on Wednesday morning, according to a release by zoo officials.

Zoo officials said that the two turtles to be released are a younger green sea turtle named Debbi and a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle named Phyllis.

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Debbi arrived at Brevard Zoo on Sept. 4 after being hooked by a fisher, and medical staff at the zoo found that Debbi had already swallowed several hooks in addition to a small parasite load, the release shows.

Zoo workers removed the hooks and was treated Debbi for parasites over the course of two months, after which she was deemed ready for release, officials said.

Meanwhile, Phyllis was taken to Brevard Zoo on Aug. 9, at which time she suffered from lethargy, anemia and emaciation, according to the zoo.

Phyllis the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Brevard Zoo)

Officials said Phyllis’ shell was covered with organisms like barnacles, and she was treated for parasites and a small tumor on the right side of her face.

While Phyllis was about 125 pounds when she arrived at the zoo, she weighed 170 pounds at the time she was deemed fit for release, records show.

Wednesday’s release is open to the public and will happen regardless of the weather, officials said. Fins are scheduled to be in the water at 10 a.m., so attendees are urged to arrive early.

For more information on Debbi and Phyllis’ rehabilitation, click here.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.