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Five Kemp’s ridley sea turtles released into the gulf after rehab

Five Kemp’s ridley sea turtles released into the gulf after rehab

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP)– Thursday was a happy day for five Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. After almost two months of rehab, the turtles are back in their natural environment.

The turtles were released back into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Franklin County Thursday morning as dozens of onlookers cheered.

The sea turtles were cold stunned and have been in rehab since December 9th, 2016. They were flown by private plane with a larger group of sea turtles from New England Aquarium to Gulf World Marine Institute in Panama City Beach.

Some of their counterparts were released earlier this month.

This group of sea turtles suffered from pneumonia and other complications due to frostbite and were placed on antibiotics. Their radiographs have been rechecked by veterinary staff and there are no obvious signs of disease.

Prior to their release, the turtles were eating normally and successfully foraging.

Kemp’s ridley is the rarest species of sea turtle and is critically endangered. Kemp’s ridley turtle was first listed under the United States Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1970. Major threats include habitat loss, pollution, and entanglement in shrimping nets.