About 47 different sea turtles have been rescued and cared for by the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team this year, including 24 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that were originally rescued in Massachusetts and flown to Florida in January for life-saving rehabilitation by SeaWorld experts. On April 20, nine of those Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were returned to the warm Florida waters in Little Talbot Island State Park, following a total of 15 weeks of extensive rehabilitation.

The remaining Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are continuing rehabilitation and gaining strength in order to be returned in the coming weeks.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are extremely rare and have been listed as an endangered species since 1970. A large decline in population of these turtles has been linked to egg harvesting in the 1960s and, more recently, human interference through pollution and shrimp netting. Along with being one of the rarest sea turtles in the world, the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is also the smallest marine turtle. An adult usually weighs approximately 100 pounds and measures 26-30 inches long.

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. Be sure to visit SeaWorldCares.com to learn more about SeaWorld’s commitment to animals and the environment.

If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922.

PHOTOS: © 2016 Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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