Brevard Zoo to release 2 sea turtles at Ron Jon Beach ‘N Boards Festival

Spicy Hawaiian, Benjamin set to be released 4 p.m. Friday at Cocoa Beach

(From left to right): Benjamin and Spicy Hawaiian are set to be released at Shepard Park’s Ron Jon Beach ‘N Boards Festival, according to officials. (Brevard Zoo)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard Zoo’s first sea turtle patient of 2023 and 100th of 2022 are set to be released Friday afternoon at a Cocoa Beach festival, officials said.

Benjamin and Spicy Hawaiian will be released at the Shepard Park’s Ron Jon Beach ‘N Boards Festival, located at 299 E. Cocoa Beach Causeway, at 4 p.m., according to officials.

Both turtles were initially found sick or injured and brought to the zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center.

Benjamin was brought to the care center as a juvenile at the end of December 2022 after being caught by a recreational fisherman at Jetty Park. Upon removing the hook, the fisherman noticed a second fishing line coming out of the turtle’s mouth leading to the stomach, officials said.

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The care team said it kept Benjamin a bit longer to ensure he didn’t have any further complications.

Spicy Hawaiian was also brought to the rehabilitation center as a juvenile after a boater found them floating in the Banana River with symptoms of lethargy, stiffness and inappetence, a release shows.

Bloodwork revealed the symptoms could have been caused by overexertion, common for sea turtles when their escaping a predator or struggling to break free from a net.

The turtles are set to be released after the final surf competition heat with all surfers and guests out of the water. Zoo officials urge guests to arrive early as parking may be limited. For more information about the Cocoa Beach festival, click here.

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