On Saturday, Mississippi Aquarium released six endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtles into the Mississippi sound. The turtles were released east of Cat Island, about eight miles from Gulfport Harbor, from the Aquarium’s research boat. This was the first time that the Mississippi Aquarium’s boat was used to release endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.
Previously, in late 2021, the Kemp’s Ridley turtles were flown from New England Aquarium to Mississippi Aquarium via Turtles Fly Too. At that time the turtles were cold-stunned. Therefore they spent several months at Mississippi Aquarium seeking care and rehabilitation.
However, now after passing the necessary medical tests, the Kemp’s Ridleys were released. Over the past few months, more than 30 of the 50 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles have been healed and released by Mississippi Aquarium workers.
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the world’s tiniest marine turtles.They are mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico, but juveniles have been spotted as far north as Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Ocean, and even in the eastern North Atlantic.
The Gulf of Mexico once had tens of thousands of female Kemp’s ridleys nesting at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. However, in the mid-twentieth century, the population decreased to a low of only a few hundred females nesting in the 1980s. On nesting beaches and through fisheries management, intensive conservation measures were implemented.
Mississippi Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium which has its research and conservation panel as well. Which works diligently to conserve endangered species. This time they have medically assisted the Kemp’s Ridley turtles so that they can be released back into the Mississippi sound.