Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Rescue

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is hard at work saving the lives of Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles. Today News 25’s Shelby Graham took a visit to see just how they are doing that.
Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles are the most endangered turtles in the world. Here on the Gulf Coast, they are getting stuck on fishermen’s hooks and swallowing them.
Veterinarian Debra Moore said, “They have hooks in their mouths so we have to remove the hook because they are going for easy prey. Fishermen throw their lines in, they have bait and the sea turtles see that. He doesn’t know the difference between a fish that is swimming or something that is just on the sea floor.”
The veterinarians at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies are working diligently to help rescue these turtles when they are injured and then releasing them back to their natural habitat. “When we get sea turtles in we have to do a physical examination. First we take x-rays and we identify what’s going on internally. Then we do a physical examination and we check to make sure their mouths are okay,” said Moore.
The Institute said it’s impossible to prevent turtles from grabbing a hold of the fishermen’s lines, but they are doing all they can to help future sea turtles.
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is dedicated to helping the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles. They have rescued over 300 just last year. “We have developed a program for the fishermen to alert us whenever they catch a turtle. That way, we would go out and respond to them and take the turtle back and do a series of diagnostic tests,” said vet technician Wendy Hatchett.
For more information about these sea turtles, you can call the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at 228-896-9182.

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