What: The Florida Aquarium will release eight Kemp’s ridley sea turtles after three months of rehabilitation. The turtles suffered through a cold-stunning event in the Northeast that began in early November 2017.
These turtles, along with 38 other cold-stunned turtles, were transferred to Florida from the New England Aquarium in Massachusetts on Dec. 8 as part of a multi-institutional effort including Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory and Sea World Orlando, to rehabilitate and release the turtles back to the ocean.
In addition, one of the eight turtles being released is the Kemp’s ridley turtle named Quincy that appeared on The Florida Aquarium’s social media back in November.
Quincy is from the previous cold-stun season, and he is named after Quincy, MA, the site of the sea turtle hospital where he first received care. He was transferred to The Florida Aquarium in December of 2016, along with nine other cold-stunned turtles.
Quincy and the other turtles were all treated for pneumonia, and most of them were released last Summer. Quincy, however, developed a front flipper injury and required additional specialized treatment. He received several months of low-intensity laser therapy and physical therapy to help improve mobility with his flipper, and became a bit of a local celebrity when a video of one of his laser treatment sessions was posted to The Florida Aquarium’s Instagram for Giving Tuesday. Quincy is a bit older and larger than the turtles from this season, but is swimming just as strongly, and is now ready for release.
The term “cold stunning” refers to the hypothermic reaction that occurs when sea turtles are exposed to prolonged cold-water temperatures. Sea turtles cannot regulate their own body temperatures and as a result of an abrupt temperature change, they can quickly become hypothermic, unable to move and can wash ashore. Initial symptoms include a decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death.
When: 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. *Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the release.
Where: Canaveral National Seashore Visitor Center, 7611 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169(Volusia County). Go through the ticket booth, turn right and continue to drive for about 2 miles where you will see the Visitor’s Center to your right. The Aquarium's Communications team will meet you here for logistics and escort. The release location is just across the street from the Visitor’s Center.
Who: The Florida Aquarium animal care team
About The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation
The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation works to maintain healthy sea turtle populations with an emphasis on critical care and reintroduction back into natural habitats. One of only a few rehabilitation facilities authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to treat endangered sea turtles, The Florida Aquarium has rehabilitated and released more than 150 turtles in the last decade (2007-2017).
A member of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) for the Southeast Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, The Florida Aquarium also invests in public outreach, education and research.