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Florida rescuers release 1,000th turtle

ORLANDO, Fla., March 11 (UPI) -- An animal rescue facility in Florida has released its 1,000th rehabilitated sea turtle into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, officials said.

Since a sea turtle rescue program began at SeaWorld Orlando in 1980, the park's veterinarians and turtle experts have cared for more than 1,530 sea turtles, Florida Today reported Friday.

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Rescued turtles come to the park suffering from cold stress, injuries from nets, fishing line and hooks, ingestion of trash such as plastic bags, boat strikes, natural causes and oil contamination, the newspaper said.

The 1,000th turtle, released at Canaveral National Seashore, was a juvenile loggerhead that suffered from "lockjaw" when it came to SeaWorld in September 2010.

Its rehabilitation was undertaken by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Brevard County.

Weighing only 70 pounds on arrival, weeks of physical therapy and medication helped the turtle regain normal function of its jaw.

Now weighing 102 pounds and with regained strength, the animal was released back into the ocean by the SeaWorld animal rescue team.

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