This week, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida went out of its way to save a tiny seahorse named Frito—and it’s not the first time the nonprofit marine rescue center has stepped up for the species.
Of the many things Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium is known for, one is very small. And her name is Frito.
This week, CMA returned Frito the Seahorse to her natural home in the Gulf of Mexico. She is the third, and tiniest, seahorse rescued and returned to the wild by conservationists at the aquarium.
Dawn McCartney, a Tampa Bay resident, discovered Frito tangled in fishing line while snorkeling June 10. She freed the seahorse, placed her in a water bottled filled with seawater, and then reached out to the aquarium for help.
On Thursday, after a period of rehabilitation, the CMA team released Frito back into the wild, into a lush bed of sea grass.
“Our mission of rescue, rehabilitation, and release applies to all marine life, big and small,” aquarium CEO David Yates said in a statement. “The level of care our team gave to tiny Frito is inspiring. It is so rewarding to get her back home.”
CMA noted that monofilament fishing line floating in the ocean poses an entanglement danger for many species, including sea turtles, dophins, stingrays, and birds.
Frito is CMA’s third seahorse rescue. Last year, the team rescued, rehabilitated, and released Frito’s predecessors, Cheeto and Funyun.