Photo Submitted By The Florida Aquarium The Florida Aquarium staff, including Roger Germann, the President and CEO, releases 10 Kemps ridley sea turtles after successful rehabilitative care at The Florida Aquarium.

Above Photo: Photo Submitted By The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium staff, including Roger Germann, the President and CEO, releases 10 Kemps ridley sea turtles after successful rehabilitative care at The Florida Aquarium.

The Florida Aquarium staff released 10 endangered Kemps ridley sea turtles back into the ocean in February, after three months of successful rehabilitative care.

Nine of the ten 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 December 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 nine turtles that was 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, Massachusetts, 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 was ready for release.

“This is always an amazing feeling,” said Ari Fustukjian (Fuh-stook-shian), The Florida Aquarium’s Associate Veterinarian. “The path to getting these turtles healthy, strong, and back out into their native habitat is the results of countless hours of hard work and dedication by numerous institutions and individuals. Thanks to this commitment to care, these little guys will have a second chance, and will hopefully grow up to contribute to the next generation of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.”

The turtles received a course of antibiotics to treat respiratory infections and topical wound care for superficial injuries. One animal received a more intensive course of antibiotics after being diagnosed with a blood-borne infection, but has responded well and is on the mend.

“Being release-ready means that diagnostics no longer show signs of disease, that the animals are active and behaving normally, and that they’re capable of and swimming strongly and catching live food,” concluded Fustukjian.

The Florida Aquarium is located at 701 Channelside Dr. in Tampa. For information, visit www.flaquarium.org.