ASSATEAGUE — A total of seven rehabilitated sea turtles were released from the beach at the Assateague State Park on Thursday morning, continuing a recent spike in releases by National Aquarium staffers in and around the resort area.
The National Aquarium released seven sea turtles from the Assateague State Park beach on Thursday, each of which had been rehabilitated from various injuries and ailments in recent months at the facility in Baltimore. One of the turtles released from Assateague on Thursday stranded in Virginia Beach in June after being accidentally hooked by a recreational fisherman. The sea turtle was admitted to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center for surgery before being transferred to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.
The six other sea turtles released from Assateague on Thursday came to the National Aquarium throughout last winter suffering from a fairly common phenomenon known as cold stunning, essentially the equivalent of human hypothermia. Throughout the winter, hundreds of cold-stunned sea turtles were discovered on the beaches up and down the mid-Atlantic region and many found their way to rehabilitation centers like the National Aquarium.
The sea turtles hit patches of extremely cold water during their typical winter migration patterns to warmer climates and the cold water literally stuns them to the point their bodies start to shut down, organs start to fail and they wash up on the beaches. The six sea turtles released from Assateague on Thursday were rehabilitated at the National Aquarium to the point they could safely be returned to the sea.
The releases on Thursday continue an active time for the releases of rehabilitated turtles and other sea creatures in the resort area this summer. Just two weeks ago, three cold-stunned turtles rehabilitated at the National Aquarium were released from the beach near the Inlet in Ocean City.
In early June, National Aquarium staffers released a juvenile grey seal that had been rescued from a Delaware beach this spring on Easter appropriately named Lilly. The seal, which had suffered a broken jaw and was transported for rehabilitation in Baltimore, was the National Aquarium Animal Rehabilitation Program’s 150th successful release.