ASSATEAGUE — The National Aquarium Animal Rescue Team released four sea turtles, including two Kemp Ridley’s and two loggerheads, from the beach last week at Assateague after their successful rehabilitation.
National Aquarium Animal Rescue Team staffers released the four sea turtles from the beach at Assateague State Park on June 20. The two Kemp Ridley’s came to the National Aquarium after stranding as cold-stunned turtles on the Massachusetts coast last November. The two turtles spent the last several months under the care of the aquarium’s animal rescue team until they were rehabilitated to the point they were ready to be released back into the wild.
Throughout the winter, hundreds of cold-stunned sea turtles were discovered on the beaches up and down the mid-Atlantic region and throughout the east coast and many found their way to the National Aquarium and other similar rehabilitation facilities. The sea turtles hit patches of extremely cold water during their typical migration patterns to warmer climates and the cold water literally stuns them to the point their bodies start to shut down. Unable to swim and navigate, the disabled sea turtles are at whims of the tides and often strand on area beaches.
Similarly, the two loggerheads released from the beach at Assateague were rescued in Cape Cod in December. The two loggerheads were named Iron and Gallium in keeping with the aquarium’s theme this year for naming stranded sea turtles for elements on the periodic table.
The two loggerheads at first were under the care of the New England Aquarium before being sent to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for rehabilitation. The two Kemp Ridley’s were rehabilitated at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium and piggy-backed on the National Aquarium’s release from Assateague State Park on Thursday.