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5th District Mid Atlantic Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

December 09, 2012


Coast Guard Atlantic Area Public Affairs

Contact: Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah B. Foster

Email: sarah.foster@uscg.mil

Office: (757) 398-6521

Multimedia Release: Saving the ocean one sea turtle at a time

Coast Guard aircrew’s wildlife rescue mission delivered endangered turtles to aquariums in the Sunshine State

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 in 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. 

Follow this link for a previous media advisory and media kit.

Select the images below for high-resolution video and photos:

                Turtles fly south   

SeaWorld Orlando curator Dan Conklin handles an endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle into a proper container at Orlando airport. An Elizabeth City, N.C.-based C-130J fixed wing aircraft deployed for a wildlife rescue mission picking up 35 endangered turtles from Cape Cod, Mass., and flying the reptiles safely to Orlando, Fla., Dec. 7, 2012.  A record number of turtle “cold strandings” in the Northeast coast prompted the emergency flight. The Coast Guard works with federal and state partners in times of need such as when animals are stranded or entangled.  This joint effort involved close coordination with the following organizations and agencies: NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region Stranding Network, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, New England Aquarium, Sea World Orlando, Mote Marine Lab, Volusia Marine Science Center, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and the Florida Aquarium.  U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer Second Class Shelby Miller

PHOTO     Endangered sea turtles “fly” south to the Sunshine State

New England Aquarium volunteers and Coast Guard crew load up a Coast Guard C-130J in Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., with endangered sea turtles bound for wildlife recovery facilities in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 7, 2012.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah B. Foster

Endangered sea turtles “fly” south to the Sunshine State

PHOTO

An alert Loggerhead turtle awaits his fate in the Sunshine State after being flown more than 1,300 miles from the Northeast while five aquariums and wildlife recovery facilities including Sea World, offloaded 35 endangered sea turtles from a Coast Guard C-130J in Orlando, Fla., that originated from Cape Cod, Mass., Dec. 7, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah B. Foster    

PHOTOEndangered sea turtles “fly” south to the Sunshine State        

Five aquariums and wildlife recovery facilities including Sea World, offloaded 35 endangered sea turtles from a Coast Guard C-130J in Orlando, Fla., that originated from Cape Cod, Mass., Dec. 7, 2012.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah B. Foster

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