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Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation

Working in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service

Green sea turtle in transport kennel before release Sept. 2018

Working in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s veterinary staff regularly helps to rehabilitate ill or injured sea turtles and release them back into the ocean.

The sea turtles the Aquarium has worked with have been found with buoyancy issues, tangled in fishing gear, or otherwise injured. The Aquarium’s veterinarian performs exams, tends to wounds, or performs surgeries as needed to rehabilitate the turtles. Then the veterinary staff keeps the animals under observation to ensure their complete recovery before they are scheduled for release.

Sea turtles brought to the Aquarium for rehabilitation in recent years have included green sea turtles and loggerhead sea turtles. All seven of the world’s sea turtle species are endangered.

NOAA scientists sometimes fit the turtles with satellite tracking tags before their release. The satellite data showing the turtles’ location after their release helps NOAA scientists learn more about where turtles travel, their breeding and feeding habitats, and other information. These species are highly migratory. Particularly with loggerheads, information about their migrations is limited, so tagged turtles contribute much-needed data for scientists to learn more about their movements. A green sea turtle released in 2012 after treatment at the Aquarium traveled 500 miles after its release.