Sea turtle hatchlings rescued from oil spill released into the Atlantic Ocean

August 3rd, 2010 - 11:58 pm ICT by BNO News  

MERRIT ISLAND, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) – More than 45 sea turtle hatchlings rescued from the BP oil spill disaster were relocated and released into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday night, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center announced on Tuesday.

The threatened and endangered sea turtle newborns were released on a remote beach along Florida’s East Coast, the final stage of the turtle rescue efforts.

Government agencies and FedEx have relocated 135 sea turtle nests from beaches in the path of the oil spill in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to a secure, climate-controlled facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Up to date, 2,168 hatchlings competed their incubation period and were released into the ocean.

“While there are still many nests left to hatch at Kennedy, we’re ecstatic about the early results from this high-stakes mission to preserve and protect these amazing sea creatures,” said Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

The hatchlings are primarily loggerhead sea turtles, a species that is currently under consideration for reclassification from threatened to endangered due to their decline.

The rescue plan was devised by scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (NFWF), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). FedEx developed a transportation solution to travel 500-plus miles with minimal vibration and close temperature control.

“The collective efforts and quick action by our partners at FedEx and federal agencies have been essential to offering these sea turtles the best hope for survival and NFWF is proud to have played a part in helping move this extraordinary project forward,” Jeff Trandhal, Executive Director of NFWF, said.

The number of nests in Merritt Island will increase soon as FedEx will transport over 4,000 eggs per day during the week of August 23.

Innovative Health Applications biologists and staff are overseeing the hatchery operations and nightly releases of the sea turtles.

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