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Published September 20, 2012, 12:04 PM

Officials: Florida man wanted to cook rare sea turtle

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

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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