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Officials: Fisherman Wanted To Cook Rare Sea Turtle

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File photo of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle swimming through the water.  (credit: George Grall/GettyImages)

File photo of a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle swimming through the water. (credit: George Grall/GettyImages)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — A rare sea turtle that a Florida fisherman wanted to cook and eat has been released back into the wild.

Officials at The Florida Aquarium say the fisherman snagged the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in May. Instead of releasing it, he put the 15-pound juvenile turtle in a tank in his backyard in Tampa.

Aquarium official Susan Coy tells The Tampa Tribune that the fisherman planned to cook and eat the endangered species, but a neighbor reported him to authorities.

It’s not unheard of for turtle meat to be used in dishes such as soups.

Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, says the fisherman told investigators he didn’t know the turtle was endangered.

The turtle named “Lucky” was rehabilitated at the aquarium until Wednesday, when it was released.

“I’m going to miss him a little bit,” Coy told the Tampa Tribune, “but I’m glad he didn’t wind up on someone’s dinner table.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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