Over 250 people lined the beach of Ocracoke Island on Wednesday to watch 12 sea turtles scutter down to the sand and return home to the ocean.
The North Carolina Aquarium‘s Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center, known as STAR, treated the turtles. Five of the turtles were loggerheads, four were green turtles and three were Kemp’s ridley.
The Aquarium says they chose Ocracoke Island for the turtle release because the temperatures at the southern end of the Outer Banks are warm enough for the turtles. All the turtles arrived at the STAR center between January and March after being cold-stunned.
During the winter season, the STAR center treats nearly 200 cold-stunned turtles. According to the Aquarium, it can take up to several months for the turtles to be cleared for release back into the ocean.
“Beach releases like these are great because everyone involved with recovering, transporting and treating these turtles gets a chance to be there,” said STAR Center Manager Amber White in a press release. “Plus, our community gets to come out and cheer them on.”
To see when the next sea turtle release will be, visit their Facebook.