Texas State Aquarium Releases Cold-Stunned New England Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

March 28, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – On Friday, March 25, 2022, the Texas State Aquarium released 10 of the 11 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that came to the Wildlife Rescue Center from the New England Aquarium back in early December 2021. The sea turtle release took place at Padre Balli Park in front of beach goers that were on hand to witness this special moment.

These sea turtles were part of 32 sea turtles transported to various rehabilitation facilities in Corpus Christi by Turtles Fly Too. They were found cold-stunned on Cape Cod, Massachusetts beaches and were suffering from hypothermia, pneumonia, and other injuries from being washed against rocks.  

After four months of care and treatment, these Kemp’s ridleys fully recovered from the cold-stunning and related health complications 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. This week, the veterinary staff announced the turtles were ready to be released back into the wild. One turtle will remain at the Rescue Center while the TSA Animal Health team treats its’ infection.

The rehabilitation of these Kemp’s ridley sea turtles required extensive 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. Our staff 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 work and dedication,” said Texas State Aquarium President and Chief Executive Officer, Jesse Gilbert. “When this opportunity presented itself, our Wildlife Rescue Team was happy to assist our partners at NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the recovery of this vulnerable species, and we 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 and the ARK at UT Marine Science Institute for assisting with the treatment of several of these Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.  

Press Photos: https://bit.ly/3uEjj6x

B-ROLL: https://bit.ly/3wIt9qs


The Texas State Aquarium (TSA), the Official Aquarium of the State of Texas, is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) institution that is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Its mission is to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for our seas and support wildlife conservation. TSA, the largest Aquarium in Texas, cares for over 4,000 animals and has been named the #5 Aquarium in North America by USA Today. Learn more at texasstateaquarium.org.

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