It was a remarkable sight! 37 rescued loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings were released on Friday off the Florida coast thanks to the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. (CMA)
CMA is famously home to Winter the rescued dolphin featured in Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. CMA, a working marine animal hospital, has released a total of 179 sea turtles this year. The baby sea turtles were all rescued after failing to make it to the ocean after they hatched from their nests. Some became disoriented after emerging from their nest and crawled away from the water, ending up in pools, parking lots and other dangerous areas.
CMA released the hatchlings in a healthy floating sargassum seaweed line six miles off the Florida coast. After hatching and emerging from their nests at night, sea turtle hatchlings crawl to the water and fight to swim to the weed line.
Sargassum seaweed provides camouflage and an abundance of food for them to grow safely. However, it is estimated only 1 in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood due to predators and other threats.
“The loggerhead sea turtle is an endangered species, and they have the odds stacked against them for survival,” says David Yates, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. “That is why our nesting conservation and rescue/rehab work with these sea turtles is essential to the species’ existence.”
Many sea turtle hatchlings become entangled in the garbage on the beach, fall in holes dug by beachgoers, become disoriented from coastal property lighting, and more. Beachgoers can help protect sea turtles by picking up trash and other objects left on the beach, filling holes in the sand and knocking down sand castles, and avoiding the use of any lights after dark when near the beach.
All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-18-172.
About Clearwater Marine Aquarium:
Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working marine rescue center dedicated to inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation and release. CMA is home to rescued dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. Winter the dolphin’s story of survival, after an injury that caused her to lose her tail, has impacted millions of people around the world.
WE BELIEVE in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life, environmental education, research and conservation.