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Longboat Key Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 3 years ago

Mote releases rehabilitated turtles

Eight of the 10 Kemp's Ridley sea turtles Mote has cared for since December were released Feb. 1.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

A group of endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are leaving their temporary home at Mote Marine Laboratory. 

On Friday, Mote released eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles from the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital. The turtles were transported to New Smyrna Beach on the east coast of Florida to be released, a statement from Mote said.

Before heading out to sea, the turtles were fitted with a passive integrated transponder tag, which gives each turtle a barcode identification number.

In December, 10 turtles from the the New England Aquarium in Massachusetts were transported to Mote for rehabilitation. NEAQ has room to care for 80 turtles but gets hundreds a day, so Mote joined other Florida aquariums to help shelter them.

Turtles' immune systems can become compromised by cold temperatures, requiring rehabilitation in warmer climates before they can return back north. 

After two months of treatment, eight of the 10 turtles were medically cleared for release. One endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle and one threatened green sea turtle from the bunch remain at Mote.

“It is always our objective to rehabilitate as quickly and safely as possible so that these animals can return to their natural environment,” said Lynne Byrd, Mote’s Rehabilitation and Medical Care Coordinator in the statement. “Sea turtles are resilient creatures and this group has responded well to treatment. We look forward to releasing the remaining two turtles from the original 10 in the near future.”

I’m Katie. I’m the Longboat Observer community editor, which means I cover all people, places and things pertaining to Longboat Key. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 364.

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