Rehabilitated loggerhead turtles return back to the ocean

Posted at 6:29 AM, Nov 28, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It’s been 4 to 5 months that a group of loggerhead turtles have felt close to home. Their chance to be back in the water took a lot of time and a team effort from multiple groups in the Coastal Bend. 

“We started working with them in the early summer. They’re turtles so they are slow to recover, and we still don’t know what happened. That caused them to strand but we know that they responded well to treatment within the Rehab Center,” said President and CEO of the aquarium, Jesse Gilbert.

Twenty-seven loggerhead turtles have been receiving treatment in the Coastal Bend. First at the UTSMI Animal Rehabilitation Keep, then at a temporary rescue operations center for the Texas state aquarium. 

Gilbert said the number of loggerhead sea turtles the aquarium needed to care for surpassed the available space and capacity previously designated for this effort. 

“The wildlife rescue team did an amazing job at not only taking care of the turtles but reengineering how we take care of them because there just so big and there’s so many of them,” Gilbert said. 

Each turtle weighing around 150 to 200 pounds. 

One spectator was surprised to see the size of the loggerheads. 

“I was here for my sister. She’s on the rescue team,” Jared Pena said. 

 She was releasing the turtles. It was fun to watch.” 

Carrie Ullmer, the head veterinarian at the aquarium stood close by as each turtle was carried to the water. 

Ullmer said it was really gratifying to see this moment happen.

“Their blood cell counts was very low and they were very weak. We were basically just with supportive care get them back to full health,” said Ullmer.

Now the rescue team is closely watching the other 18 loggerhead turtles. So, they can also be released back to the wild. 

The Texas State Aquarium and the Animal Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas will continue to prepare for any cold stunning event. 

The profits they make from those who visit helps fund keep endangered species in Texas healthy.