Earlier this month, Georgia Aquarium released six rescued loggerhead sea turtles off Little Talbot Island beach, near Jacksonville, FL.
Earlier this year, the Aquarium received eight cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtles that were rescued off the coast of New England. The Aquarium’s animal care and veterinary teams have since been providing exceptional care for these animals so that they can be released back into the ocean.
Colder temperatures in the north have caused an increasing number of sea turtles to become cold-stunned, where sea turtles become very weak and inactive from exposure to cold temperatures, similar to hypothermia. Without the intervention of zoos, aquariums and partners like National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Turtles Fly Too, these turtles could develop secondary health problems or potentially die.
Rehabilitation efforts are an important part of Georgia Aquarium’s mission. Through dedicated time, staff, and resources from ticket sales, the Aquarium can help not only animals at home but offer temporary housing and rehabilitation to animals in the wild, like these loggerhead sea turtles. Each year, the Aquarium and its teams work alongside other zoos and aquariums across the country to help give cold-stunned turtles temporary homes to warm up and gain strength. These operations help save many turtles and would not be possible without the generous support of organizations like Turtles Fly Too, whose pilots donated their time, planes, and fuel to get these turtles to their temporary homes.
While at Georgia Aquarium’s off-site rehabilitation and quarantine facility, these turtles received uninterrupted care from animal care and vet teams. Six of the eight rescued turtles were cleared to be released back into the ocean, while the remaining two will continue to receive care until they are strong enough to be released.
For photos and video assets of the release please see below:
Photo / Video Credit: Georgia Aquarium