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IMMS releases sea turtles, excavates hatchlings in Pass Christian

Sea turtles
Rehabilitated Kemp's ridley sea turtle (left) and newly-hatched sea turtle (right). Photos courtesy of IMMS.

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) on Tuesday released four rehabilitated Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Mississippi Sound while also excavating a nest of sea turtles found on a Pass Christian beach.

An IMMS crew first released the four Kemp’s ridley sea turtles — two of which were brought to the state from New England to be treated for freeze shock — into the water. The other two had been caught by fishermen on the Mississippi Gulf Coast before being put in the care of IMMS.

The crew then excavated a nest of turtles that had hatched at the Pass Christian last week. IMMS experts recovered 84 hatched eggs in total with 12 live hatchlings.

According to IMMS stranding coordinator Theresa Madrigal, nests typically contain 100 to 150 eggs. The odds that one of the hatchlings will make it to adulthood are slim.

After the 12 living hatchlings were recovered, they were guided across the shore and into the water by IMMS workers.

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