Animal Rescue Update: April Sea Turtle Release

National Aquarium Animal Rescue released 16 rehabilitated sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean last week at Little Talbot Island in Jacksonville, Florida!

Published April 22, 2019

Last week, National Aquarium Animal Rescue transported 16 rescue turtles to Florida for release. Seven of the 16 turtles completed rehabilitation at the National Aquarium, and the remaining nine turtles were cared for by other regional rehabilitation facilities, including Virginia Aquarium, National Marine Life Center and Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Turtle release

Five of the released turtles that completed rehabilitation at the National Aquarium were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, while the other two were green sea turtles. These seven turtles were treated for symptoms associated with cold-stunning. One of the Kemp’s ridley turtles was also treated for external wounds around its eye.

This year’s naming theme for rescued sea turtles is elements of the periodic table! The two green sea turtles that were released were nicknamed Hydrogen and Oxygen, while the names of the five Kemp’s ridleys included Gold and Lithium.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle

Even though Hydrogen and Oxygen completed rehabilitation over a month ago, Animal Rescue had to wait for the appropriate water temperatures to release them back into the ocean. Green sea turtles have a higher frequency of fibropapillomatosis (FP)—a disease in which external tumors develop that can affect swimming, vision and feeding—than any other turtle species, and this disease proliferates in warmer waters. The low-70’s temperatures of the waters of Little Talbot Island proved to be more appropriate for releasing the green sea turtles than the warmer waters of Canaveral National Seashore, where our previous two releases have taken place this season.

With this release in the books, two loggerheads and six Kemp’s ridley sea turtles remain in our care. Animal Rescue is continuing to care for these eight turtles until they’re ready for release later this year!

Stay tuned for more Animal Rescue updates!

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