CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (KXAN) — On Saturday, nine endangered sea turtles were released back into the ocean after being found stranded on Texas beaches earlier this year.
Between July and September, the 200-pound loggerhead sea turtles were rescued and rehabilitated by the Texas State Aquarium after exhibiting signs of illness or injury.
Loggerhead sea turtles are native to the Gulf of Mexico, but they are federally recognized as an endangered species.
The released turtles were part of more than 40 loggerhead sea turtles that were relocated to the aquarium from other rescue facilities in the region.
Stranding is common year-round. Sickness or human-induced injury, like fishing gear entanglement and boat strikes, are usually to blame.
Throughout the rehabilitation process, the sea turtles were kept in pools conditioned to be similar to their natural environment and given special nutritious diets. The aquarium’s veterinary team provided the sea turtles with extensive medical care, including physical exams, bloodwork, x-rays and antibiotic treatments to aid their recovery.
Last week, the veterinary staff announced the turtles were ready to be released back into the wild.
The release took place near North Padre Sea Wall, where beachgoers gathered to witness the special moment.
Three of the released sea turtles were equipped with transmitters that will help scientists track their migratory patterns and habitat locations.
If you find a sea turtle injured on a Texas beach, you can call the Texas Sea Turtle Hotline number at 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-887-8535) or visit the Texas State Aquarium website for more information.