PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew of a Coast Guard C-130J fixed wing aircraft deployed for a special mission Friday flying more than 2,000 miles out of its home base at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., bound for Cape Cod, Mass., to pick up 35 endangered sea turtles.
Fifteen threatened Loggerheads and 20 endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were dropped off at Orlando, Fla., and was picked up by several wildlife recovery centers and aquariums, including SeaWorld, Orlando.
By helping to protect and rescuing endangered and threatened marine wildlife, the Coast Guard supports its living marine resource missions. The preservation of sea turtles is vital to the health of our oceans and fisheries.
This year, a record number of 150 “cold-stunned” endangered sea turtles suffering from hypothermia were rescued by the New England Aquarium Marine Rescue Program volunteers throughout the Northeast coast. Running out of room at all of the Northeast rescue centers, the aquarium turned to the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region Stranding Network and the Coast Guard for help to move the reptiles south to the Sunshine State for months-long recovery and rehabilitation.