A group of endangered turtles rescued from freezing waters off America’s chilly east coast have been returned to the wild after a holiday in Florida to warm them up.
The three critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were found stranded close to Cape Cod.
A condition called ‘cold stunning’ had left them too weak to eat and would eventually have caused them to stop swimming, say experts.
Now the three have been released back into the ocean following a holiday to warm up in the Florida sun.
The trio – part of a group of 20 turtles suffering from severe cold – had been flown to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon in the Florida Keys.
Their return to the sea – caught on camera by the hospital – came after months of warm water therapy to raise their body temperatures back to normal.
The video shows the three turtles named – Twix, Jolly Rancher and Jelly Belly, after favourite American sweets – being set free at the Canaveral National Seashore on New Smyrna Beach.
In a statement given to Newsflash, Bette Zirkelbach, General Manager at the Turtle Hospital, said: “Florida Fish and Wildlife chose the release location.
“The location is the furthest south this sea turtle species in this life stage is found.”
She said the effort was vitally important because the newly released turtles were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles which are “the most critically endangered species in the world”.
She said the other turtles could be recovering for up to a year before being released.
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