Eighty-five infant sea turtles were released off the Florida Keys Tuesday. Their release was delayed a week due to Hurricane Rita. Eighty one of the silver dollar-size reptiles were endangered green sea turtles while four were threatened loggerheads.
The director of a turtle hospital in Marathon Richie Moretti says the animals were rescued on the beaches in the Keys about three weeks ago. They were either stuck in the bottom of their nests or tried to swim to sea, but couldn't. Moretti says the release took place on a sargassum weedline about 10 miles off Marathon.
"And they're going to stay in this weed for the next 15-20 years of their life. And they're going to go all around the Sargasso Sea. They're going to go up along North Carolina and turn right to the Azores. Alright. They're waving good-bye, thank you for the ride."
Weedlines are natural habitats that nurture young sea turtles. Early Tuesday, Moretti flew in a small plane off the Keys to find the weedline. The U.S. Coast Guard base in Marathon provided a boat and crew to transport him and the turtles to it.
Thursday, 29 September 2005 01:00
Turtle ReleaseWritten by WGCU Newsroom