Nine rehabilitated sea turtles were released on Wednesday morning at the Coquina Beach public beach access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The National Park Service and the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island worked together to orchestrate the release, which drew a big crowd of onlookers.
The newly freed turtles included five Green Sea Turtles, three Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, and one Loggerhead sea turtle.
All of the sea turtles that were released were rehabilitated at the STAR Center, and eight of the nine turtles had been admitted over the winter months due to being cold-stunned. Cold stunning in sea turtles is similar to hypothermia, and it occurs when there is a rapid drop in water temperature. The unusually chilly weather over the course of the winter led to dozens of turtles from the Hatteras Island area being admitted to the STAR center.
The ninth turtle, the Loggerhead, was being released after suffering injuries from a shark bite.
All releases were approved prior to the event by the North Carolina Aquarium’s veterinary staff.