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National Aquarium reaches milestone for rehabbing, releasing 350 animals to their natural habitat

A sea turtle nicknamed Tuba was one of the turtles released back into its natural habitat to help celebrate the milestone.

BALTIMORE — The National Aquarium has reached a historic milestone in its rescue and rehabilitation operations.

A group of 11 sea turtles was released on April 27 off the coast of North Carolina after successful rehabilitation at the Animal Care and Rescue Center.

In this special moment, the National Aquarium reached the milestone for the rehabilitation and release of 350 animals back to their natural habitat since the organization started the Animal Rescue Program in 1991.

“We are proud to share that with the help of our local, regional and national partners, we have rehabilitated and released 350 animals back into their ocean homes,” said National Aquarium Rehabilitation Manager Caitlin Bovery. “Each time we return an animal back into its natural habitat we are reinvigorated and motivated to continue this critical mission work.”

Credit: National Aquarium

National Aquarium gave the 30 cold-stunned sea turtle patients, which included the 11 sea turtles released Wednesday, nicknames from musical instruments for the 2021-2022 rescue season.

Tuba, a green sea turtle, arrived at the National Aquarium with a deep cut to the edge of the shell. The extent of Tuba's injuries was determined by the National Aquarium Animal Health team, which created a treatment to help heal the wounds.

After countless months of topical wound care, bandage changes, supportive therapies, and a procedure to clean the debride the wound, Tuba made a full recovery.

The other 11 sea turtles were not healthy enough to be released earlier in the season, but fortunately, all the turtles healed and are now excited to return to sea off the coast of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.

All the turtles also received several treatments for:

  • Cold stunning
  • Pneumonia
  • Dehydration
  • Emaciation
  • Shell and skin lesions
  • Eye lesions
  • Blood infections

The National Aquarium’s rescue program is responsible for providing care to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles recovered along the Maryland coast, and the group works with partner organizations across the Greater Atlantic Region Stranding Network. 

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