Injured Sea Turtles Rehabbed In New Jersey, Returned To Wild (VIDEO)

Injured Sea Turtles Rehabbed In New Jersey, Returned To Wild (VIDEO)

WEST ORANGE, NJ — It’s a bittersweet experience releasing a rehabilitated sea turtle back to the wild. But there’s a reality check that helps the staff of Sea Turtle Recovery battle the blues… there are plenty more animals out there that need their help.

Last week, the nonprofit rescue group – which recently set up a base at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange – traveled from New Jersey to Oak Island, North Carolina, and released their first set of six rehabilitated Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles back into the ocean from which they came.

According to the nonprofit, the turtles had been “cold-stunned,” a reaction caused by rapid drops in ocean temperatures that can lead to frostbite, malnutrition, dehydration, shock, pneumonia and even death.

“It is always an emotional good-bye to watch sea turtles swim away healthy after long hours working to save them,” Sea Turtle Recovery’s co-executive officer Brandi Biehl said. “Then the realization hits that there are so many more needing help… not in a month or a week but immediately.”

As if to prove the point, on the ride home from North Carolina, the team had a pair of new traveling companions: 50-pound Loggerhead sea turtles destined for rehabilitation at the Turtle Back Zoo.

In total, three Loggerhead turtles are currently at the zoo receiving treatment for pneumonia, according to Sea Turtle Recovery.

“[We take] sea turtles from other states to help create space for new animals that wash ashore with severe trauma and illness,” co-executive officer Bill Deerr said. “Our long-term care facility can help out of state facilities as well as take any critical cases that may wash ashore in New Jersey needing long-term care.”

From their post at the Turtle Back Zoo, the staff of Sea Turtle Recovery can also help to educate the public about the plights facing their namesake animal and give animal lovers a chance to appreciate the beauty of the species in person.

“To watch a family or child come back month after month to check on a specific sea turtle they adopted or have been watching, you know sea turtle species have a real chance,” Deerr said.

Watch a video of one of the turtles swimming out to sea below, via



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Photos: Sea Turtle Recovery