JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On February 19, 16 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were returned to the waters near Canaveral National Seashore, Florida by the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team after months of rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando’s critical care facility.
Last December, 15 of the sea turtles were rescued from frigid waters off the coast of New England by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, suffering from cold stunning. They were initially stabilized at the New England Aquarium before being flown to SeaWorld Orlando for additional treatment.
Upon arrival in Orlando, SeaWorld’s animal care team conducted full examinations to determine the best treatment for each turtle. Many of the animals were suffering from pneumonia; some were also treated for corneal ulcers, malnutrition and other effects of cold stunning. After three months of individualized care consisting of antibiotics, fluids and special diets, the turtles were cleared for return to the ocean.
The 16th turtle, also a Kemps ridley, was rescued earlier this winter from the Atlantic Coast. After months of treatment including a daily nebulizer treatment to treat pneumonia, the turtle was part of yesterday’s ocean return.
Kemp's ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtles. Human interference, nest disruption and habitat loss are just some of the reasons for the population decline.
In collaboration with government agencies and partner marine life facilities, more than 2,000 sea turtles have been rescued by the SeaWorld Rescue 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 33,000 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.
All turtle return footage produced by SeaWorld under FWS Permit Number MA7701911 and FWC Permit Number MTP-15-035.