New Smyrna Beach, Fla. (February 27, 2020) – Over the past two weeks, 15 endangered sea turtles were returned to the Atlantic Ocean at the Canaveral National Seashore in New Smyrna Beach, Florida by the SeaWorld Orlando rescue team. All of the sea turtles were rescued in New England after cold stunning, and flown to Orlando for specialized care and treatment late last year.
Ten of the rehabilitated turtles were Kemp’s ridleys, a critically endangered species. Five green sea turtles, which are classified as endangered, were also returned. They represent more than half of the 29 turtles transported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) from New England to SeaWorld Orlando. Upon arrival in Orlando, SeaWorld’s rescue team conducted full examinations to determine the best treatment for each sea turtle patient.
According to Meghan Koperski, FWC sea turtle biologist, “FWC staff worked to identify permitted rehabilitation facilities that could provide care for dozens of cold stunned turtles from the Northeast U.S. These transfers ease the burden on the sea turtle rehabilitation facilities in the Northeast, ensuring space for any new patients requiring care. Partners like SeaWorld stepped up and made this happy ending possible.”
In collaboration with government agencies and partner marine life facilities, more than 2800 sea turtles have been rescued by SeaWorld’s rescue teams since 1980. For more than 55 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 36,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.
All turtle return footage produced by SeaWorld under FWS Permit Number MA7701911 and FWC Permit Number MTP-15-035.