Rare sea turtles released into wild after rehab at IMMS

Rare sea turtles released into wild after rehab at IMMS

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Right now, some endangered sea turtles are enjoying a second chance at life.

It was a big send off Saturday morning in Pass Christian as the eight Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were released back to their natural habitat into the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The sea turtles were eager to say hello to life back in the waters as those on land bid farewell.

“It was a perfect day. It really was, and those turtles looked like they were glad to get out of here too," said Mayor Chipper McDermott.

“The turtle seemed like really ready to get back out in the water, and we had to give it a little push so it could go run out with its friends," said Amelia Weatherly, who participated in the release.

The endangered sea turtles were caught on fishing hooks by anglers. Those anglers fortunately called the stranding hotline so the turtles could be rescued and rehabilitated by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

“We sometimes have anglers who try to remove the hooks on their own, and they think that they’re doing the right thing, but what they’re really doing is causing a lot of damage inside the mouth. ... But in the hands of somebody who’s trained in hook removals and in the hands of our veterinarian Dr. Deborah Moore, these animals have a very good chance of survival," said IMMS behavioral ecologist Mystera Samuelson.

In fact, Samuelson said that rate is at 100 percent. That’s a 100 percent chance for a healthy comeback for the turtles made possible by the community.

“That’s really important to us to bring the community back together for the release, to see why it’s important to call us and to see these efforts kind of come to fruition and be a part of the happy ending and the sad beginning of the story,” Samuelson said.

This is the third community release IMMS has done this year, adding up to around two dozen sea turtles gaining a second chance at life.

Those who incidentally hook a sea turtle should call the IMMS stranding hotline at 1-888-SOS-DOLPHIN.

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