On the morning of Sunday April 13th 2014, seven endangered Kemp’s ridley (
Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtles were readied for a 24-hour trek to Jacksonville, Florida where they would be released. Cherry (#32), Raphael (#34), Julia (#35), Thetis (#36), Marina (#37), Shosho (#38), and Squirt (#39) were admitted to the National Marine Life Center in November due to cold stunning. Follow their journey to Florida through the photos below!
April 13, 2014 8AM: Final weights and measurements are taken for each of the 7 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that are being released. Rear flipper and PIT tags are also rechecked.
April 13, 9AM: The Kemp’s ridleys are placed in crates lined with two towels and a roll for comfort. They are then covered in a water based lubricant to keep their skin from drying out and cracking.
April 13, 10AM: The 7 Kemp’s ridleys and transport team are packed and ready to head to Florida!
April 13, 1PM: We did our best to check on the Kemp’s every few hours, here’s Raphael (34) snoozing in his crate at a rest stop in New Jersey.
April 13, 3PM: We hit traffic in New Jersey and it continued until Washington DC.
April 13, 6 PM: Thetis (36) wonders, are we there yet? Along with her, Squirt (39) was also really rambunctious during the ride.
April 13, 9PM: We made a pit stop in Virginia to reapply ointment and do a towel change for all the turtles.
April 14, 2014 5AM: The seven Kemp’s ridleys and the transport team safely made it to Florida!
April 14, 7AM: After 21 hours of travel, the transport team and turtles safely arrived at the release site, Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida!
April 14, 730 AM: Some of our Kemp’s ridleys were lucky enough to get a ride down to the beach in a Bobcat!
April 14, 745 AM: All seven Kemp’s ridleys are lined up and ready to go!
April 14, 8 AM: And they’re off! Squirt (39) is the first one released!
April 14, 8 AM: Up next are Marina (37) and Raphael (34).
April 14, 8AM: Swim Shosho (38)!
April 14, 8 AM: There goes Pearl (32)!
April 14, 8 AM: Thetis (36) and Julia (35) are last but definitely not least!
April 14, 830 AM: After a solid 24-hour journey, all seven Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were successfully released at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Thanks to everyone who made their rehabilitation and release possible!