VIRGINIA BEACH — In front of a large crowd gathered Friday morning on the Oceanfront the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center and its Stranding Response Team released five rehabilitated turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean.
Four of the five (Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Captain, and Poppy) were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and all four were inadvertently hooked by fishermen.
Also released was Drake, a Loggerhead who was found “cold-stunned” in the Chesapeake Bay on New Year’s Day.
The Kemp’s ridley turtles are the most endangered not only in Virginia but in the world, said Mark Swingle, director of research and conservation for the Aquarium.
“They almost disappeared 40 years ago,” he told the crowd, explaining that after the turtles hatch in the sand and make their way to the water, they never return to land again (except when the females return to lay their eggs).