Sea turtle returns to sea

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Breland Mungia loves turtles, and after she visited Sea Turtle Inc. and witnessed the release of Madi-Jax yesterday she wants to raise funds to help the organization all the way from the capital city.

“What I want to do is create a T-shirt company to help raise money for foundations like this,” said Breland, an Austin resident. “I’m glad there are organizations like this to help turtles heal.”

Breland, 14, and her family were at Isla Blanca Park yesterday to watch the 100-pound loggerhead sea turtle be released back into the ocean by Sea Turtle Inc.

“We are pretty excited to be here, you usually see this stuff on TV on some of the nature shows,” said Ray Mungia, Breland’s father. “To be able to see the release of some wildlife is amazing.”

The Mungia’s were one of many families who were spectators at the release of the sea turtle who had gone through rehabilitation at Sea Turtle Inc.

Nearly 200 people lined up along the shore and into the water to observe the sea turtle that survived a shark bite return to its home in the Gulf of Mexico.

Executive director at Sea Turtle Inc., Jeff George, said the sea turtle had washed up on shore in March with a shark bite wound, many barnacles on it and a large bowel obstruction.

“Through mineral oil and special machines, we were able to get that through the system,” George said. “The turtle was gaining weight and is ready to be back into the ocean.”

The turtle was released near the jetties to clapping and cheering from onlookers.

“The turtle loves to eat crustaceans, mollusks, crabs and the rocks present a good habitat for those animals and a good food source for the turtle,” George said.

He said the turtles are named by the people who find them. This particular turtle was named after the two sisters who found it while walking on the beach with their grandmother.

George said the support of the community and the support of tourists are what drive Sea Turtle Inc. to help wounded sea turtles.

“It’s always nice to share our success stories with the community,” George said. “It’s about them going home and thinking about our oceans and wanting to protect our oceans.”