One turtle stranding season ends, another begins

The 2012-2013 turtle stranding season broke all kinds of records at the Aquarium's Animal Care Center in Quincy. The Marine Animal Rescue Team cared for 242 turtles—in an average season we treat about 80. And 100 of those turtles were big (50 pounds plus) loggerheads. Despite the overwhelming number of patients, the Rescue Team had a release rate of 87 percent.

A rescued sea turtle from the 2012 season 

As the new stranding season begins (the Rescue Team is already caring for more than a dozen turtles at our clinic), we wanted to show you some of the last 2012-13 turtles to finish rehab and be returned to the ocean.

These two Kemp's ridleys, turtle #164 (Frank Hardy) and turtle #197 (Benton Wesley), each stranded in December of 2012. Both of them needed a lot of expert care before they were ready to go back out to sea. After nine months of antibiotics, vitamins and plenty of herring and squid twice a day, these two highly endangered sea turtles were finally strong enough to leave the clinic.

They were fitted with satellite tags, and on a gorgeous day in late August 2013, Rescue Team members drove (and ferried) the turtles to Martha's Vineyard to the release site at the Trustees of Reservations Long Point Wildlife Refuge. From this site on the southern coast of the Vineyard, the turtles had open ocean in front of them. As you can see, they knew exactly what to do.

See more pictures of this event on the News Blog. Want to help? You can make a donation to support the Marine Animal Rescue Team's work and all the Aquarium's conservation efforts.

You can track the progress of these satellite tagged turtles at seaturtle.org.

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