This morning, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned 17 juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore. Today’s return marks the largest turtle return for the Orlando Animal Rescue Team since the return of 30 sea turtles rescued from the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 due to a massive oil spill.
These sea turtles were part of the 72 juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles rescued during a mass cold stranding near the Massachusetts coast in 2014. They were transferred to SeaWorld Orlando from the New England Aquarium by the U.S. Coast Guard for rehabilitation and expert care.
Following today’s return, 40 of the 72 rescued turtles have been returned after completing rehabilitation under the expert care of SeaWorld Orlando’s skilled Aquarium Team and veterinarians. The SeaWorld Team is still caring for a remainder of the turtles as they regain their strength with the goal of returning them as soon as possible.
Ranging from 2 to 5 pounds at the time of rescue, the turtles have been thriving during their rehabilitation, gaining strength and weight. The 17 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles returned today weighed between 5.2 and 9.2 pounds.
So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 24 sea turtles and returned 43 to the ocean. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 25,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.