MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - After six months of rehabilitation, five sea turtles were released back into the Mississippi Sound.
Workers with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies headed up the project and said they're pleased with the outcome.
An entire team of people that helped prepare five sea turtles for their journey back home enjoyed the fruits of their labor Saturday.
"We've gotten tons of stranded animals since the oil spill. Last year we had over 50. This year we've had very high numbers, as well," said Marine Mammal Studies Research Assistant Megan Broadway.
To help combat those high numbers, this group has taken in numerous animals, like the sea turtles and nursed them back to health.
"During rehabilitation, some of them had hooks. We removed the hooks. If they have phenomena or any ailments, we treat them for it. We get them healthy before they're released," said IMMS Executive Director Dr. Moby Solangi.
The team headed miles out into the Mississippi Sound and gently placed the now healthy sea turtles back into the waters they once knew.
These turtles won't be forgotten about, of the five released Saturday, four of them have a satellite tag on them, so researchers can keep a close eye.
"We released them with satellite tags, so that we can tell where they go 24/7. That will answer a lot of questions," said Solangi.
Researchers are hoping to answer questions like:
- What's killing the animals?
- What else can be done to keep them protected?
But for now, the focus is on celebrating a second chance at life.
"It's always the most amazing feeling to see them released and to take off strong, and it's just really a great feeling to seem them return to the wild to this area...to Mississippi," said Holmes.