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26 Apr 2018
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Sea Turtle Release on Ocracoke Island

An unforgettable experience on Ocracoke Island. On a sunny spring day on Ocracoke Island, a crowd of residents and visitors gathered at the Lifeguard Beach to cheer on twelve sea turtles who were released and returned to the Atlantic Ocean.

Sea Turtle Release on Ocracoke Island

Ready to start their new life in the ocean

The sea turtles included five loggerheads, four green and three Kemp’s ridley. All of these amazing turtles traveled from the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island where they were treated at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center.

The largest of the turtles released on Ocracoke was a 275 lb. Loggerhead, one of nearly 200 cold-stunned turtles that were rescued by NEST volunteers and treated at the STAR Center this winter.

Sea Turtle Release on Ocracoke Island

The lure of the warm water off Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island was selected as the release location for the twelve turtles due to the close proximity to the Gulf Stream. On April 25th, the turtles traveled down the Outer Banks and boarded the Hatteras/Ocracoke Ferry to their final destination on Ocracoke Island where they experienced April water temperatures, now above 60 degrees, warmer than those currently found on the northern Outer Banks.

The Turtle Release

This event included members of the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center and aquarium staff, volunteers from the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) and biologists from the National Park Service who all shared information about the turtles and their upcoming release.

Sea Turtle Release on Ocracoke Island

Be Safe and Swim Free

When the time arrived, members of the teams guided the turtles back to the ocean, everyone witnessing the heartwarming walk that each turtle took toward the sea. 

Sea Turtle Release on Ocracoke Island

If you ever have the opportunity to view a turtle release we encourage you to attend.  It was awesome!