JEKYLL ISLAND, Fla. – The Georgia Sea Turtle Center will release four sea turtles Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Beach Village Beach Access. Center officials urge those planning to watch the release to arrive early, and remember to bring your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, and a friend.
The Jekyll Island-based center's goal is to increase the awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and education programs.
Here's a closer look at the four soon-to-be released sea turtles that were rescued earlier this year after overcoming a number of health and environmental challenges.
The adult male loggerhead was brought to the center in May from Fancy Bluff Creek in Brunswick with anemia, heavy epibiota (organisms like barnacles living on the shell), and healed boat strike injuries.
Ironside was named for his resiliency in surviving boat strike injuries without rehabilitation.
He was found near a region where wood was harvested and milled to build the USS Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides.”
The juvenile loggerhead named Keystone arrived from just south of St. Simons Island in July with a large carapace (top shell) fracture – there was even paint from the boat still on the shell.
This turtle has healed quickly and is very strong. While there’s still a fracture in the carapace, Keystone is healthy and ready for release. The shell should heal completely in the wild.
The sub-adult loggerhead, called Timucua arrived from the Nassau Sound in May very weak, thin, and lethargic because of impairment in the digestive tract and a wound to his plastron (bottom shell).
After a few weeks in the care of the center. Timucua is now in a strong and active turtle.
Unnamed Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle
The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle came to the center in July after accidentally being caught on a fishing line on the north end of Jekyll Island. The fisherman gently and safely brought the turtle to shore and into the center.
The turtle was treated for the fish hook injury, anemia, an old boat strike, and another fish hook that was lodged in its esophagus. After rehabilitation and treatment, this animal is strong and ready to head back to the wild.