IMMS releases Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles to their home

Six Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles returned to their home this afternoon after undergoing months of rehabilitation here on the Coast.

Back in December, the turtles were flown to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after being cold stunned and stranded off the Coast of Massachusetts.

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies along with help from Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine rehabbed the sea turtles.

Upon arriving in Gulfport, many turtles were lethargic and suffered from the equivalent of turtle pneumonia.

After seven months, many gathered in Pass Christian to see some of the most critically endangered turtles released into their natural habitat: the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said, “First off, I commend what Dr. Solangi has done for the turtles, for the wildlife, for the dolphins, for the way of life in Mississippi. And I applaud your Governor, Lieutenant Governor for doing an incredible job of standing up to these diversions that will destroy all that.”

MSU Radiology Resident Dr. Shanna Marroquin said, “It’s been really great– like what she was saying– to watch them start from the beginning when they were really sick to months in advance, they’re doing so much better. And we actually got to see them in person a couple of times they came up to the school and we did CT scans on them. We got to ultrasound a couple of them. So that’s been really exciting to get to be a part of it.”

MSU Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Imaging Service Dr. Ellison Lee said, “So being able to do something and help out these endangered species and learn more about this ecosystem is really great for us.”

Turtle release observer Owen Tobias said, “I’ve been to the place where they like help them and rehabilitate them and stuff and it’s really cool. And sometimes they looked really sad in their containers, so it was really cool to see them be happy and free in the ocean finally.”

IMMS still has a few turtles recovering at their facility which will be released at a later date.

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