SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team returned three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle, to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore this week.
The three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles returned were part of the 72 sea turtles that were rescued last November during a mass cold stranding off the Massachusetts coast. They were transferred to SeaWorld Orlando from the New England Aquarium by the U.S. Coast Guard for rehabilitation and expert care.
Following this week’s return, only nine of the 72 rescued turtles remain after completing rehabilitation under the care of SeaWorld Orlando’s aquarium team and veterinarians. The SeaWorld team is still caring for the remainder of the turtles as they regain their strength with the goal of returning them in the coming weeks.
Ranging from 4.5 to six pounds at the time of rescue, the turtles have been thriving during their rehabilitation, gaining strength and weight. The three turtles returned this week all weighed roughly nine pounds each.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world, mainly due to egg collection and other human activities. Today, under strict protection and the help of organizations like SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team, the population is on its way to recovery.