Every month, Houston Zoo staff assist the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with their weekly beach surveys, looking for stranded, injured, or nesting sea turtles. We drive the beach, sometimes for more than 10 hours searching for turtles that need help, and respond to calls to the sea turtle hotline (1.866.TURTLE.5).
This past Monday, we had the pleasure of releasing 9 sea turtles during the weekly survey! 3 Kemp’s ridleys were successfully released after being rehabilitated at NOAA’s Galveston Laboratory. They all came in, caught on fishermen’s hooks. Houston Zoo veterinary staff provided medical care for these turtles to ensure their speedy recovery.
Later in the afternoon, we released 6 green sea turtles into the bay. These turtles stranded for a variety of reasons, but one was found entangled in fishing line and plastic bags.
NOAA and the Houston Zoo worked together to provide medical care to this green sea turtle as it was rehabilitated in Galveston. Thankfully, it made a full recovery and was able to go back to the wild.
Everyone can play a role in saving sea turtles. Ensure that our local turtles do not get caught in plastic bags by making the switch to reusable fabric bags every time you go to the grocery store. This is an easy way to be a marine animal hero!