Hundreds of people gathered to get a glimpse of this rare event and wave good-bye. Ten Kemp's ridleys and one loggerhead swam out into the Gulf of Mexico with another 21 green sea turtles released later in the day into Christmas Bay.
All of the turtles came into NOAA Galveston's Sea Turtle Hospital with various injuries including boat strikes, entanglements, hook & line capture, cold stun, and unknown debilitating ailments for treatment and rehabilitation.
Thanks to Dr. Joe Flanagan and the veterinarians with the Houston Zoo and our partners at Moody Gardens and the Turtle Island Restoration Network these turtles got the care and attention they needed to recover and be released back into the wild.
The biggest threats to sea turtles are human related activities and plastic pollution. We ask, if you see a sick or injured sea turtle in the southeast, call your state wildlife agency, wildlife rehabilitation facility or in Texas 1-866-TURTLE5. Please don't try to put the turtle back in the water or remove any fish hooks.
Photo Credit: NOAA's James Primrose