What a beautiful sight! Twenty three Kemp’s Ridley are all cleaned up and ready to swim home. A team from NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Riverhead Foundation and the In-Water Research Group rescued these turtles covered with oil weeks ago. No one was certain if these endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles would make it.
The Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans, state and federal biologists began releasing the turtles back into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Florida. Cedar Key provides excellent habitat for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and has long been known as an important habitat area for this species,” said Barbara Schroeder, NOAA’s national sea turtle coordinator. “Thanks to the efforts of our rescue teams and rehabilitation facility partners all of the turtles we released on August 18, 2010 have an excellent chance of surviving in the wild and contributing to the recovery of this species.
The turtles received excellent treatment and care, including cleaning and de-oiling, at Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans, La., and at Gulf World in Panama City, Fla. The turtles were then cared for by Sea World of Florida, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Florida Aquarium.
So far about 500 live turtles have been rescued during the Gulf oil spill, and more than 450 had visible evidence of external oil. Now 350 turtles are still in rehabilitation facilities and will be released as they are given clean bills of health.
“Thanks everyone for all your love, perseverance, dedication and hard work.” -Mother Nature
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