On the morning of Dec. 31, 2015, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles – the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle – to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore. The sea turtles spent more than 13 months at SeaWorld’s rehabilitation facility after being rescued in 2014. The three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles returned were the last remaining of the 72 sea turtles rescued during a mass cold stranding.
Ranging from 4.1 to 4.6 pounds at the time of rescue, the turtles have been thriving during their rehabilitation, gaining significant strength and weight. Upon their return today, the three turtles’ weights ranged from 9 to 15.8 pounds.
The SeaWorld team worked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on the return location for these Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which are found near the Gulf of Mexico and along the East Coast. The same species and size class are found along the Florida coast at this time of year.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world, mainly due to egg collection and other human activities. Today, under strict protection and the help of organizations like SeaWorld, the population is on its way to recovery.
Throughout 2015, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 64 sea turtles and returned 91 to the ocean. This year marks a record year of rescues, rehabilitations and returns for the Orlando Animal Rescue Team, with more than 600 animals rescued and rehabilitated.
2015 YEAR-END REVIEW: Breakdown of Rescues for Specific Species
- Turtle rescues (including sea turtles, tortoises and freshwater turtles) – 91
- Bird rescues – 529
- Manatee rescues – 33
- Cetaceans – 1
For more than 50 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 27,000 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. To learn more about SeaWorld’s commitment to animals and the environment, visit SeaWorldCares.com.
PHOTOS: © 2015 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.