Come watch rescued turtles released into sea at Point Pleasant Beach
Four sea turtles are being released Wednesday morning off the waters of Point Pleasant Beach after spending more than a year in rehabilitation inside the Sea Turtle Recovery facility at the Turtle Back Zoo.
Sea Turtle Recovery, a nonprofit hospital, is the only facility in the state able to rehabilitate sea turtles needing long term care, and this will be the group's second release in New Jersey.
Tammie is a 40-year-old, 270-pound adult loggerhead rescued off the coast of Cape May. Bill Deerr, co-executive officer at STR, says Tammie was found with seven propeller cuts down her back so she's been in the hospital for over a year recovering from the infections.
Three juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtles — Glacier, Shellbie and Junior — also are being released. Shellbie and Junior were rescued off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, last year. Deerr says they did not migrate south in time so they suffered hypothermia.
Glacier was rescued off Sandy Hook last year. Deerr says that the young turtle was also suffering from hypothermia but he believes that Glacier was not able to migrate because of a broken flipper.
Last year, STR released Humphrey, an 87-pound loggerhead sea turtle, off Point Pleasant Beach.
Deerr says all sea turtles in the world are either threatened or endangered, especially Kemp's ridley sea turtles, of which only a small number are left.
Doing turtle releases allows people to see how amazing these animals are, he said.
"To see them up close helps people realize that we need to protect our oceans. We need to clean up our trash and we need to help these animals," Deerr said.
The public is invited to the turtles' release. It will take place at Water Street in Point Pleasant Beach, just north of Jenkinson's Aquarium. The turtles are set to arrive at 7 a.m. but he advises that people get there early to get a good spot.
The sea turtles are wild and STR wants to keep these animals wild. They don't want people approaching too closely. The turtles can be unpredictable so they want to keep a safe distance between the animals and the people. But you will be able to get a good glimpse of these turtles as they head back to the water.
If you can't make the rescue, don't worry. Deerr says you can catch the sea turtle release live on the Sea Turtle Recovery's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SeaTurtleRecovery.
Volunteers and donations are always accepted. Deerr says because STR is a separate nonprofit, all of its funding comes from grants and private donors. To learn more, visit seaturtlerecovery.org.
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