A few ocean friends are getting a new lease on life after some much needed rehab. Four sea turtles were released back into the wild after receiving treatment from the Virginia Aquarium.
The four Kemp’s Ridley turtles, the most endangered species of sea turtles, were rescued by the aquarium’s Stranding Response Team after being found in trouble in various locations around the area.
“Well our Stranding Response Program has been around for almost 25 years now, we’ve responded to over 8,00 marine animal strandings. Most of them have been sea turtles so our Sea Turtle program has really ramped up in the last few years. So really excited to get these animals recovered and back into the wild,” says Mark Swingle, director of research for the Virginia Aquarium.
One turtle, named Llama was found near Cedar Island entangled in waste and lost one of fins because of the damage. But Swingle says that she will live just fine back in the ocean with only three fins.
The reunion with ocean took place at the Neptune Park at the Oceanfront. But the job for the aquarium does not stop at the re-release.
“Basically we’ve got these animals tagged, and we want to follow them and their progress through their life. Hopefull we don’t see them again on the beach, unless they are females and are nesting, because they stay in the water their entire life,” says Swingle.
The program has helped over 8,000 stranded marine animals over the last 20 years. The program does run on some sponsorship and grants but mostly donations.