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Kemp's Ridley sea turtle rescued after being tangled in fishing line

Biologists say the turtle also ingested a balloon
Posted at 9:27 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 23:22:14-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Biologists at Clearwater Marine Aquarium are caring for a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle after it ingested a balloon and got tangled up in fishing line. 

Boaters spotted the sea turtle offshore near Clearwater Beach.

"She was dragging this buoy so the fishermen saw the buoy bobbing up and down," said Lauren Bell, a biologist with Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

The critically endangered sea turtle named Donkey Kong is recovering at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Biologists also learned it swallowed trash.

"About two weeks later, she passed a balloon so we did X-rays and CT scans and trash is virtually impossible for us to detect," said Bell. 

Bell said fishing piers are a main spot for turtles to get trapped.

There are containers on the pier where fishermen should toss fishing gear when they are done. 

Biologists hope to return Donkey Kong to the wild eventually. Bell said on Thursday they located a dead sea turtle in Clearwater found near a waterfront restaurant. It was tangled in fishing line.

They also located a sea urchin in Clearwater Bay with an old hair clip attached to it.

Biologists encourage people to think about their actions because it may have consequences below the water's surface.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium said to report a stranding call CMA's 24-hour emergency stranding hotline at 727-441-1790 Ext. 1.