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When turtles fly – Uh, they actually do!

Cold-Stunned turtles (Image courtesy of Mississippi Aquarium)

Mississippi Aquarium received 40 cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from the New England Aquarium. The turtles flew into Gulfport Friday afternoon, courtesy of Turtles Fly Too, a non-profit organization that flies injured turtles to rehabilitation locations.

(Image courtesy of Mississippi Aquarium)

The veterinary staff at Mississippi Aquarium is treating the turtles in its offsite research center.

“All 40 of the Kemp’s ridleys are pretty small; they range from about one kg to out to a few kilograms,” said Mississippi Aquarium Vice President of Veterinary Services Alexa Delaune. “The majority have evidence of pneumonia. The turtles will be treated with antibiotics for pneumonia. We did a complete physical exam and bloodwork on each turtle we received on Friday. So far, all of the turtles are stable but, their status can change day to day, especially in the first few days. We are very grateful to Turtles Fly Too that volunteered time and planes to fly the turtles here. It’s an honor to help our colleagues care for these sea turtles, and we are excited to get them healthy so that our community can watch them be released back into the Gulf.”

Mississippi Aquarium received several cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley turtles in December 2020. The turtles were flown to Gulfport by Turtles Fly Too, a non-profit organization that flies injured turtles to rehabilitation locations. Delaune and her staff released the last of the first batch of Kemp’s ridley turtles into the Mississippi Sound in July.

The rehabilitation effort for the threatened Kemp’s ridleys is part of Mississippi Aquarium’s broader sea turtle conservation program.

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