Featured Image Credit: Northwest Florida Daily News
By Shelby Hoover
On April 11th, Gulf World Marine Park & Institute successfully released a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle back into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle was reportedly found struggling in the rough surf along the coast of Florida’s Panhandle.
Luckily, the sea turtle was spotted by a local fisherman on March 27th and taken to the Gulf World Marine Institute by local police.
The Gulf World Marine Institute is an organization dedicated to sea turtle and marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Once at the Marine Institute, staff were able to examine and rehabilitate the sea turtle.
After running several tests to guarantee that the sea turtle was clear of any disease and swimming normally, the Kemps Ridley sea turtle was medically cleared to be released back into its natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.
Kemps Ridley sea turtles are considered a critically endangered species. In fact, six of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered. These prehistoric reptiles face many dangers at sea and on land including accidental capture and entanglement in fishing nests and loss of nesting and feeding habitats due to costal development and ocean pollution.
The Kemps Ridley sea turtle found most likely came ashore due to some form of human interaction. The marketing director of Gulf World Marine Park, Sam Tuno, suggests that it is possible that the sea turtle got tangled on a dropped fishing line. Several species of sea turtles are at high risk of extinction largely due to human threats. It is important to remember that everything that we put into the ocean great affects the marine life that call it home!