Blessed by Tibetan monks, this turtle had a very festive return to sea

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A group of Tibetan monks blessed and released an endangered sea turtle into the waters in Islamorada in the Florida Keys at the end of January.

Hundreds gathered on the beach to cheer as Drifter waded back into the water.

The monks performed a chanting ritual to bless the reptile. In the hour-long ceremony, they wished for the turtle and other animals to enjoy long lives free from suffering.

Drifter, a 170-pound female adult Loggerhead turtle, was rescued and rehabilitated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital after she was found floating offshore in November 2019, unable to dive.

She was treated with antibiotics, anti-parasitic medications and vitamins for three months at the hospital, the first of its kind in the world dedicated to rehabilitating sea turtles.

This is the monks' last week in the Florida Keys as they visit from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in southern India. They are all students of the Dalai Lama who are visiting as part of an annual pilgrimage to share their ancient cultural teachings.

Watch the video above to see Drifter's return to the sea.

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