Officials: Fla. man wanted to cook rare sea turtle

Officials at The Florida Aquarium say the fisherman snagged the Kemp

In this photo taken May 14, 2011, a Kemps ridley sea turtle with a tracking antennae applied to her shell with epoxy sits in the sand depositing eggs at Padre Island National Seashore National Park in south Texas. A year after an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists and biologists are getting their first real idea of how much damage was done to the region�s population of sea turtles as the females begin heading to coastal shores to nest. The greatest concern has been for the Kemps ridley, the smallest sea turtle and the most endangered. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

TAMPA, Fla. (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.


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