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Posts Tagged ‘Sea Turtle Rescue’

Rescued, Rehabilitated, and Released

Posted by Jody on September 11, 2018

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Biloxi, Mississippi – Between the Beau Rivage Resort and the I-110 Loop Walk

Yesterday afternoon, we were excited to be able to attend the release of nine rescued Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Kemp’s ridley are the rarest and most critically endangered sea turtles in the world. They are also the smallest of the eight species of sea turtles, growing to about two feet in length and weighing up to about one hundred pounds at maturity. Apparently, they are somewhat common in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Sound. We certainly had no idea!

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Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

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Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

A story on the local news had let the public know that we were invited to attend the release of these nine rescued and rehabilitated critters. The fine folks at The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (based in Gulfport, Mississippi) had rescued the rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from fishermen’s hooks along the Mississippi Coast. Fish hooks were surgically removed at IMMS by the veterinary staff and the nine patients were treated and monitored until they were deemed healthy enough to be safely returned to their natural habitat.

Thank goodness our numerous fishing piers are all signed with instructions and emergency 24-hour hotline phone numbers for those who accidentally hook sea turtles while they are out enjoying a lovely day on the coast. ~ How awful it must be to find a sea turtle has attached itself to your line!

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Instructions for Fishermen

The institute’s staff explained that, judging by their their size, these sea turtles were perhaps between two and five years old. The juveniles were not yet old enough for experts to be able to determine if they were males or females. Sadly, two of them had been hooked previously and had already spent some time at the research facility.

While we waited, the nine newly healthy sea turtles were brought one by one to the roped off staging area in individual plastic bins. Quite active and raring to go, they were sprayed down to keep them cool until the set release time. At 4:30 sharp, Biloxi’s Mayor FoFo Gilich was handed one of the lucky turtles and instructed on how to hold, carry, and then release the first sea turtle back into the Mississippi Sound.

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Biloxi’s Mayor FoFo Gilich Getting Instructions

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Biloxi’s Mayor Delivering Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle to the Mississippi Sound

One by one, the turtles were released back into the water.

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There goes another!

And, one by one, they headed straight back into the Mississippi Sound!

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Last  but not least!

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The Ninth Turtle is Released

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Safe and Sound into the Mississippi Sound!

We are so grateful that the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies invited the public to witness such a wonderful event! It was a fabulous way to spend the afternoon for us  –  and most certainly – for the sea turtles!

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Rescued, Rehabilitated, and Released!

 

Here are a few helpful links if you’d like to learn more about Kemp’s ridley sea turtles:

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Sea Turtle Inc.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

National Wildlife Federation

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Home Sweet Home for our Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

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Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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