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New Beginning for New England Turtles

February 28, 2018
Remember these guys? They flew to Florida for treatment in December, but today, they’re all better and back in the ocean thanks to the rescue team.

This morning, 17 endangered sea turtles were returned to their natural environment by our rescue team at Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville. The majority of the returned sea turtles were rescued in New England and flew to Florida for treatment late last year.

In early December, more than 40 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles arrived at Tampa International Airport to begin rehabilitation at multiple Florida facilities. The reptiles were rescued from frigid northern waters by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and stabilized at the New England Aquarium before their cross-country flight.

Upon arrival in Orlando, SeaWorld’s rescue team conducted full examinations to determine the best treatment for each sea turtle. Many of the animals were suffering from pneumonia, some were also treated for ulcers and malnutrition. After three months of individualized care, the turtles were cleared for return to the ocean.

Rescued earlier this winter from the Atlantic Coast, two green sea turtles also returned home to the sea this morning. One of the turtles was treated for shell abrasions and the other for injuries resulting from ingested fishing line and hooks. Dr. Lydia Staggs, one of SeaWorld’s veterinarians, conducted the challenging hook removal surgery successfully, and both animals were cleared for return along with the highly-endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles.

In collaboration with government agencies and partner marine life facilities, more than 2,000 sea turtles have been rescued by the SeaWorld Orlando team since 1980. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 31,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.