BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY - 18 sea turtles were released into the Atlantic Ocean near the Gulf Stream Thursday. The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll rescued these turtles from area beaches and brought them back to health with the help from several other facilities.
An aquarist at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll, Michele Lamping, said sometimes baby turtles need outside help because they can't make it to the water.
"When we do these excavations we find stragglers. Some of these guys have been sitting there for three days with a very low oxygen environment and very heavy sand on top [of them]," Lamping said.
There were two green turtles, and 16 loggerhead turtles. Ten of the loggerheads were just a few weeks old. The rest ranged from ages one to five. The oldest, named Abby , is a Loggerhead turtle weighing close to 200 pounds.
PPG Aquarium in Pittsburgh, Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, and Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut all brought back loggerhead yearlings originally from the North Carolina Aquarium. Virginia Living Museum released Abby -a five-year-old loggerhead originally from Atlantic Beach.
The aquarium released these turtles 36 miles off the shores of Beaufort. Lamping said they released the rescued turtles near the Gulf Stream because of the warm waters.
"It's a great opportunity to use these animals that wouldn't have made it and turn them into an education opportunity for us and aquariums across the country," Lamping said.
Abby, along with another loggerhead turtle have satellite transmitters on their shells. These devices help pinpoint the turtles' location using satellite technology. Tracking of these turtles can be viewed in a couple of days by clicking this link or visiting www.seaturtle.org.