ATLANTA (September 16, 2016) – T.J., the nine-year-old loggerhead sea turtle, is set to be released on a beach in Jekyll Island, Ga. on Monday, September 19 by Georgia Aquarium staff members. T.J. will be transported from the Aquarium the morning of his release in a specially designed transport unit. He has been fitted with a scientific satellite tag to help study his migration, behavior and progress.
T.J. hatched on Jekyll Island on May 20, 2007 and was part of one of the first nests of the season. He was born on July 20, 2007, and was found by technicians from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center still inside the nest and was considered a stranded hatchling. He was taken back to the center where he was examined. Five days later, T.J. went to his new home at Tidelands Nature Center in Jekyll Island where he lived for two years.
To prepare for his release, Georgia Aquarium staff members assessed and confirmed that T.J. has the ability to capture and consume live prey. They also focused heavily on disassociating his feeding from the presence of humans by using visual barriers and silence protocols. This practice assures that T.J. will not associate humans with food resources and be able to forage naturally.
Weighing in at close to 46 pounds and measuring more than 23.6 inches, it is time for Georgia Aquarium to say goodbye to T.J. He is healthy, strong, and can live up to 75 years old. While at the Aquarium, T.J. assisted in helping educate millions of guests about the loggerhead sea turtle species. Loggerhead sea turtles are an endangered species, and by rehabilitating and releasing T.J., we hope that he will reproduce and help the population increase in the wild.
For pictures of T.J., please click here. For more information on Georgia Aquarium’s research and conservation efforts of loggerhead sea turtles, please visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/loggerhead-sea-turtles. Follow Georgia Aquarium on social media to see T.J.’s release on Facebook Live, and visit Georgia Aquarium’s blog for more information on T.J.
ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.
ABOUT LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES
Loggerhead sea turtles are named for their large heads. They can be found all over the world in the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans in shallow coastal waters and muddy bottom bays. These turtles can weigh from 200 to 350 pounds and reach approximately three feet in length. Loggerhead sea turtles eat mollusks, clams, crabs, oysters, and more. Loggerheads produce 50,000 to 70,000 nests per year. They are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.