Reprinted from the Island Free Press
Crew members from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet recently released 30 sea turtles back into the ocean after the turtles made a full recovery from exposure to the winter temperatures and were deemed ready to return to the water.
The sea turtles were originally part of a wave of turtles that had to be treated after they were cold-stunned during icy temperatures.
In late January, 100 cold-stunned sea turtles were found and transported to the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) Rehabilitation Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Two days of cold temperatures resulted in about 89 sea turtles being rescued on a single day.
The 30 turtles that were released were shuttled 10 nautical miles out to sea, and the passengers included a hefty 132-pound loggerhead turtle, as well as a number of smaller patients who made the trip in plastic food storage containers. All turtles were safely returned to the water during the operation Thursday, thanks to the assistance of three crew members from the Hatteras Inlet Station.
“We work with a couple of different agencies to release the sea turtles,” said Petty Officer Brandon Sanford of Station Hatteras Inlet. “(We do this) at least a couple of times a year. Usually, at the be ginning of winter season, they get picked up and sent to a rehab center, and when spring comes around, we’ll help return them to the ocean.”
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.