Texas State Aquarium Releases Remaining New England Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

April 15, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the Texas State Aquarium released the last group of cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that came to us from New England back in early December 2020.

These sea turtles were part of 120 sea turtles transported to the Aquarium by Turtles Fly Too. These sea turtles were found on the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They suffered from hypothermia and other related health complications.

These Kemp’s ridleys fully recovered from the cold-stunning and related health complications following months of care and treatment at the Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center. The Aquarium’s veterinary team provided expert medical care, including physical exams, bloodwork, x-rays, and antibiotic treatments. The Aquarium’s animal care team provided around-the-clock husbandry. This week, the veterinary staff announced the turtles were ready to be released back into the wild.

The rehabilitation of these Kemp’s ridley sea turtles required exhaustive efforts and coordination by numerous Aquarium departments. The Aquarium’s Water Quality Team maintained optimal water conditions in the tanks. The Aquarium’s Wildlife Care Specialists constantly updated vital statistics for each turtle, including weekly weigh-ins and measurements, and prepared special diets to ensure optimal nutrition. Feeding our New England guests was a labor-intensive operation that took place twice a day, every day. Our staff and volunteers ensured the turtles consumed, not only all their food, but the nutritional supplements they were provided. They also performed daily observations to identify any health issues and verify that the turtles were alert, responsive, and swimming and diving normally.

 

“This release is the result of many months of hard work and dedication by our staff and volunteers to give these rescued animals another chance at life, to reproduce, and to swim in the warm waters of the Gulf,” said Texas State Aquarium Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Jesse Gilbert. “When this opportunity presented itself, our Wildlife Rescue Team jumped at the opportunity to assist our partners at NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the recovery of this vulnerable species, and they were thrilled to finally see these animals swim off into the Gulf and continue on their journey in life.”

The Aquarium would also like to extend its gratitude to all the organizations and people who assisted with this rescue and rehabilitation effort. In particular, the Aquarium would like to thank Dr. Tim Tristan from the Texas Sealife Center for assisting with the treatment of several of these Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.

This release represents another great success for the Texas State Aquarium, its dedicated staff, its members, its volunteers, and its many partners throughout the region and the world. With their help, the Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center has rescued, brought back to health, and released close to 1,000 sea turtles into the wild, since the beginning of 2021.

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