Most endangered sea turtles in the world released into Mississippi Sound

Elected officials from Mississippi and Louisiana joined together, using the event to speak about conservation of coast resources.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 8:09 AM CDT
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Six of the most endangered sea turtles in the world are now swimming in the Gulf of Mexico after being released Tuesday in Pass Christian.

Dozens of people came out to the beach to watch workers with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies release six Kemps-Ridley sea turtles into the Mississippi Sound. For those there, especially the children, it was amazing moment as they watched the turtles swim out to sea.

”This is an imprint for them. They will remember this day. They will remember the day they touched that turtle, and they will remember how important it is to save our water, save our beaches, save our islands and all of the things that come with living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who attended the event.

Elected leaders from Mississippi and Louisiana gathered were there, stressing the importance of conservation.

”You know, Louisiana claims we have a 50-year plan. We don’t need a 50-year plan; we need a five year plan,” said Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. “Fifty years from now, we will be having the Grand Isle Fishing Rodeo in Baton Rouge. We have got enough money from BP to save our coast. God help us if we waste it; we won’t get this chance again.”

Seeing elected leaders work together to solve the issues caused by opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway brings IMMS director Moby Solangi great joy.

”I think that is the most incredible thing that came out of this event, to see both of these states who have contiguous waters, contiguous issues, to make sure that we work together,” said Solangi.

Saving the turtles was no easy task. They were stranded on the shores of Massachusetts due to cold waters before being flown to South Mississippi. IMMS partnered with the Mississippi State School of Veterinary Studies to successfully rehabilitate the reptiles.

”The fact that we are able to incorporate telemedicine, advanced technologies and procedures, endoscopy equipment to treat these patients and help them along, just speaks wonders for veterinary medicine and what we can provide for these turtles today,” said Dr. John Thomason, a Mississippi State University Associate Professor.

Six turtles were released Tuesday, with several more currently being rehabilitated at IMMS.

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