NEWPORT NEWS — The Virginia Living Museum‘s loggerhead sea turtle, Gingersnap, will be released into the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina next week.
“Sea turtles instinctually return to their birth sites to reproduce, so Gingersnap will be returned to her home waters,” said Chris Crippen, conservation director of the museum.
The museum acquired the 15-pound loggerhead hatchling in June as part of the sea turtle loan program run by the North Carolina Aquariums and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Read more about the conservation program here.
The VLM has been a part of the program since 2009 and has released four turtles; three of them have been equipped with satellite tags to track their journey, Crippen said.
“Gingersnap will not be tagged,” Judy Triska, marketing director for the VLM, wrote in an email. “The tagging program is not available at this time.”
And Gingersnap isn’t the only turtle being released on Wednesday.
Several other aquariums including the Virginia Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Mystic Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, will also be releasing sea turtles at the same location, Crippen said.
On Monday morning, Gingersnap will leave her 30,000-gallon Noland Chesapeake Bay tank and be transported to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Two days later, she will be released in Gulf Stream, approximately 30 miles outside of Beaufort Inlet, Crippen said.
Patrycja Lawryniuk, the museum staff member who will be transporting and releasing Gingersnap, will be available during the museum’s three feeding and scuba diving programs to answer questions, Crippen said.
The Virginia Living Museum, 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd. will have feeding and scuba diving programs on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and Oct. 13 through Oct. 14. at 2 p.m. Each program will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and younger are free.
For information, visit the Virginia Living Museum website or call 757-595-1900. You can also follow Gingersnap’s release into the Gulf Stream on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.