Sea Turtles Released Off Georgia’s Jekyll Island After Long Recovery

It was great news for conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts when it was announced that 12 sick or injured sea turtles that had been rescued by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center were returned to the waters off the shores of Jekyll Island.

A large crowd gathered on the beach of Jekyll Island to watch as staff members from the center slowly waded into the ocean waves with their carapaced charges in hand before turning them loose. Once they hit the surf, a round of applause and cheering erupted from the ecstatic onlookers assembled for the upbeat event.

green sea turtle
Photo: Pixabay/gwiseman

Among those released were eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that had suffered from hypothermia and pneumonia, and four green sea turtles that had been injured from boat strikes or entangled in fishing nets. Of the green sea turtles, one seemed to be doing a happy dance during a photo op just before their release.

sea turtle release
Photo: Jekyll Island Authority

While the sky above was overcast and gray, the seas were calm, making for an easy swim as the creatures made their way out to open water. The hundreds of people who witnessed the event seemed to be in buoyant spirits regardless of the somewhat gloomy weather.

sick sea turtle
Photo: YouTube/Jekyll Island Authority

The sea turtle center, which opened in 2007, is Georgia’s veterinary hospital for sick and injured sea turtles. Like Florida, they routinely care for turtles that are struggling in an effort to increase the odds for the various species facing difficulties due to human behavior.

trash on beach
Photo: Pixabay/bilyjan

Plastics, fishing gear, and boat strikes — as well as loss of habitat in some cases — are threatening their way of life all over the world right now. If you live in a coastal area that sees regular turtle populations, you can always contact local rescue operation centers to learn more about the simple ways you can help ensure their survival, as well as volunteer for the center nearest to you.

Check out the two videos below.

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