It is with great pleasure that we share the story of five more endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles that were released back into the ocean. With help from our partners at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Staff from the Assateague Island State Park, we had a spectacular day!
Above: New England Aquarium Senior Biologist, Julika Wocial, prepares to release an endangered Kemp's ridley back to the ocean.
Above left: Assateague Island Park Rangers bring the turtles onto the beach. Above right: National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB) volunteer Chuck Erbe keeps the public at a safe distance while the turtle truck backs onto the beach
It takes many organizations working together and hundreds of dedicated volunteers to make days like this possible. From the volunteer beach walkers at the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Wellfleet Bay who walk the beaches in the late fall and early winter to find these turtles, to the volunteer turtle drivers who drive them up to the New England Aquarium sea turtle hospital, to all the volunteers that help us with the rehabilitation, to the other Aquariums and rehab centers who accept turtles into their centers. The efforts of the network make this possible. Today we thank them all for their dedication to the conservation of endangered sea turtles!
Photos above: Julika Wocial thanks all our partners, especially the National Aquarium and the Assateague Island State Park for helping us release these turtles.
Photos above: Julika Wocial from NEAq and Chuck Erbe from NAIB prepare to release two endangered Kemp's ridley turtles in front of approximately 300-400 very excited people on the beach
Photos above: It takes a lot of caring and dedicated people to save a species. We called out to our friends and partners at the National Aquarium to help us with this release. Above on the left is NAIB volunteer Chuck Erbe giving a close up view to onlookers. Photo on the right is NAIB volunteer Ellen Erbe helping with crowd control and education as Julika gives the public a close up look at an endangered sea turtle
I got a little carried away behind the camera because I didn't want you to miss out on the event. It is always a challenge replicating the magic of the day through photos. Please consider the following as you view the next few sets of photos: A strong breeze filled with the smell of salt air, cheering crowds as the turtles crawled back into the ocean and smiling faces all around.
I added the photos below because I was deeply touched by the beauty of Assateague Island State Park. As I was photographing the release I noticed a wild pony walking up the beach toward the crowd. Wild ponies are protected and the park rangers have a wonderful and gentle approach; they steered him around the crowd and he meandered on down the beach. The rangers took wonderful care of us and the turtles; they have true passion and dedication for conservation.
The photo above on the left shows the curious pony walking on the beach toward the crowd, perhaps he too wanted to see the little turtles head back out to sea? I took the photo on the right as we exited the park. These ponies were grazing peacefully along the shore. Assateague Island State Park is stunning beautiful and the ponies make for a special treat.
Above the release team stops for a much needed "refueling" after a long day transporting and releasing endangered turtles. Yes, the Green Turtle is a real restaurant, quite appropriate for this team of turtlers!
Once again, we thank all who made this day possible from the long list above. Special thanks go to the Assateague Island State Park and the National Aquarium in Baltimore for their help making this event possible.
Stay tuned to this blog... perhaps there will be photos of another release sometime next week.... perhaps.