37 Loggerhead Sea Turtles Released in Central Fla.

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Federal biologists released 37 loggerhead sea turtles into the Indian River Lagoon near Melbourne.

A smuggled rare pond turtle, only about 120 remain in the wild, is presented to the media upon arrival along with 17 others to their native Philippines from Hong Kong Friday, April 27, 2012 at Manila's international airport. A Philippine wildlife official said the smuggled 18 pond turtles were confiscated at the Hong Kong airport in February from a Chinese student, along with 13 more common box turtles. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

SEBASTIAN INLET, Fla. (AP) -- Federal biologists released 37 loggerhead sea turtles into the Indian River Lagoon near Melbourne.

Florida Today reports the U.S. Coast Guard had to delay releasing another 132 turtles Monday because of squall lines from Tropical Storm Debby.

There was no word on when they'll be released.

The turtles were used in research trials in Panama City.

Biologists are trying to design fishing and shrimping nets that will help turtles escape.

Drowning due to being caught in nets is one of the main causes of sea turtle deaths.

The 3-year-old turtles were gathered as hatchlings and raised in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's research laboratory in Galveston, Texas, before they were taken to Panama City for research.

They currently weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.

------ Information from: Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com

AP-WF-06-26-12 1003GMT


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