JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Nearly three dozen sea turtles that were rescued on Cape Cod last fall were released off Florida waters Tuesday.
The 31 endangered and threatened sea turtles spent months at the New England Aquarium’s rescue center near Boston. The group was transported in a caravan of three cars to the sand dunes of Jacksonville’s Little Talbot Island State Park, where three aquarium biologists and six rescue volunteers unloaded the sea turtles in their individual padded plastic crates and placed each one about 30 feet from the breaking waves, the aquarium said in a statement.
“What better way to celebrate Earth Day than the life affirming act of returning dozens of rescued and endangered animals to their ocean home,” the statement said.
The turtles were mostly juveniles, including 28 Kemp’s Ridleys, the most endangered; two loggerheads and one green sea turtle, officials said.
They washed up last November and December in the frigid waters of Cape Cod Bay and slowly became hypothermic. At the aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, Mass., they were treated for malnourishment, dehydration, pneumonia and other blood and organ disorders.
More than 80 sea turtles have been taken to the New England Aquarium so far this year and over half had been successfully rehabilitated and released, the aquarium said in the statement. About a dozen turtles were still being treated and will be released by late summer.
Since 1990, the New England Aquarium has treated and released more than 1,000 endangered and threatened sea turtles.
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