The turtles were rescued within the past year after being stranded in cold environments

By Eric Todisco
September 15, 2020 03:45 PM
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Courtesy of the National Aquarium

Three sea turtles have made their way back to their underwater home.

The National Aquarium, in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police marine unit, recently released three rescued and rehabilitated turtles off the coast of Maryland, according to a press release.

The turtles, two Kemp's ridley and one green sea turtle, were rescued within the past year after being stranded as cold-stunned sea turtles. They were treated for pneumonia, respiratory distress, dehydration, infection, and emaciation.

Mozzarella and Stilton, the Kemp's ridley sea turtles, were both stranded off the coast of Massachusetts and transferred from the New England Aquarium to the National Aquarium in Baltimore in December 2019.

Prior to their release, both turtles were fed live crabs to ensure they maintained the ability to forage and capture live prey.

Courtesy of the National Aquarium
Courtesy of the National Aquarium

Halloumi, a green sea turtle, was stranded in February off the coast of North Carolina and transferred to the National Aquarium after being triaged at North Carolina’s STAR Center.

Before being released, Halloumi, a voracious eater, consumed a steady diet of vegetables and mixed greens, with a preference for broccoli and zucchini, the aquarium said.

The National Aquarium team is now preparing for the next cold-stunned season, which typically begins in the fall when water temperatures in the Northeast Atlantic cool. The aquarium has the capacity to admit and care for more than 30 cold-stunned sea turtles for long-term rehabilitation, most of which arrive for rehab simultaneously.

Courtesy of the National Aquarium

Courtesy of the National Aquarium

It is not uncommon for sea turtles to be stranded due to illness or injury, given they are naturally present along the mid-Atlantic from May through October.

In the past week, two more Kemp's ridley sea turtles were admitted to the National Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Pecorino, who suffered a presumed boat strike, and Tulum, a more mature turtle who had symptoms of lethargy and positive buoyancy, were rescued off the coast of Delaware and are currently being treated by animal health and rescue teams, the aquarium said.