After eight cold-stunned sea turtles were brought to Zoo Miami Sea Turtle Hospital in December, six of them are being returned to the wild after making an “excellent recovery.”
Last month, the hospital received the juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles as their first out-of-state patients.
The eight turtles were flown in from the Cape Cod area after being exposed to rapidly dropping temperatures in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, according to Zoo Miami.
Upon arrival, the zoo says the turtles were suffering from health issues such as emaciation, abrasions, dehydration and swollen eyes.
Now, after several weeks of care, Zoo Miami says six of the eight turtles have made an excellent recovery marked by significant weight gain, increased mobility and healed abrasions.
On Friday, Zoo Miami Sea Turtle Hospital supervisor Rosemary Lucas packed up the six recovered turtles and transported them to a site near Cape Canaveral where they were successfully released.
Before the release, Zoo Miami says each turtle was examined and measured. They each also had transponders inserted for future identification.
The Kemp’s ridley turtle is the world’s smallest and most endangered sea turtle species, with a shell length rarely exceeding two feet and weighing up to a hundred pounds.
Kemp’s ridley turtles are found from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia where they feed primarily on crabs and other shellfish. Illegal harvesting of their eggs and getting caught in nets are the main reasons for their critically endangered status.
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