Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Admiral Thad Allen Release Turtles Back to the Gulf
Picture by: Phil Sandlin/ AP Picture taken on: April 19th, 2011
On Aug. 18, the NOAA, USFWS and the Unified Command made the first release of rehabilitated sea turtles back into the wild. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Admiral Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander of the Unified Command for the spill, helped release 23 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Fla.. Scientists chose Cedar Key because it is an area known to support a healthy population of young Kemp’s ridleys that is rich in crabs, the primary food for this species. Releases continued regularly through the fall, bringing the number of healthy sea turtles returned to the Gulf to more than two thirds of the approximately 500 turtles rescued during the spill. As of April 15, 2011, approximately 40 turtles remain in rehabilitation, and release plans are underway to return these animals to the wild in the next couple of months.