GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Aquarium team members will release 13 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Mississippi Sound on Thursday, May 25.
The turtles will be released at 4:00 p.m. on the beach in front of Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. This release marks a milestone for Mississippi Aquarium, which will release its 100th Kemp’s ridley sea turtle during the event.
Twelve of the turtles are the third wave to be released from a group which were cold-stunned and flown to Mississippi in December 2022. The turtles were flown to Mississippi Aquarium via Turtles Fly Too to receive further rehabilitation.
The additional Kemp’s ridley being released, nicknamed Mist, has been undergoing treatment at Mississippi Aquarium since October 2021. Mist contracted a difficult-to-treat pathogen after being cold-stunned in December 2020.
“Cold stunning in sea turtles happens when the water rapidly drops in temperature. The turtles then become debilitated and stranded,” said Dr. Alexa Delaune vice president of veterinary services and research at Mississippi Aquarium. “Common problems include pneumonia, bone infections, gastrointestinal disturbances, and frost bite. Mist’s infection was severe and required long-term and intensive treatment.”
After Thursday’s release, Mississippi Aquarium staff will have released 102 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles since opening in August 2020.