Freedom! After a long road to recovery, the Virginia Beach Aquarium & Marine Science Center will release five rehabilitated sea turtles back into the Atlantic.
The release of Captain, Honeysuckle, Poppy, Drake and Wisteria is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at Neptune’s Park, and is open to the public. The five turtles were in rehabilitation for various reasons, including getting caught in fishing lines, trauma and boating accidents
Aquarium officials said Wisteria, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, was hooked in the tongue by a recreational fisher at Little Island Fishing Pier in Virginia Beach back in May.
Poppy, another Kemp’s ridley, hooked by a recreational angler at Buckroe Fishing Pier in Hampton that same month. A fragment of the hook that became lodged in Poppy’s throat had to be surgically removed, officials said.
Nearly a month later, a Kemp’s ridley — named Honeysuckle — was hooked in the esophagus at Grandview Beach in Hampton.
Officials said the fourth Kemp’s ridley of the group being released Friday, Captain, was found floating near the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in August 2017 It was later determined that Captain had a cranial fracture and a fracture in its front right flipper.
Drake — the only loggerhead of the group that’s being released — was a cold-stunned sea turtle that was found on Lynnhaven Beach Dec. 31, 2017.
The Virginia Beach Aquarium & Marine Science Center reminds you to call the 24-hour Stranding Response Hotline at (757) 385-7575 to report any injured or deceased sea turtles or marine mammals.