BALTIMORE — Fifteen sea turtles are getting a new lease on life, thanks to the National Aquarium.
Aquarium workers returned the 15 juvenile turtles to their natural habitat in Florida, after they were found stranded off the coast of Massachusetts in November.
The aquarium says turtle-rescue groups are seeing increased demand, due to plastic pollution, climate change and other impacts from human activities.
The 15 turtles - which were named after musical instruments, like Piccolo and Harp - had been found cold-stunned in Massachusetts, suffering from pneumonia, dehydration, emaciation, and lesions, among other ailments.
One of the turtles, a green sea turtle named Cornet, passed plastic debris and ultimately successfully recovered, said the aquarium.
Thirteen of the turtles are Kemp's ridley turtle, and two are green sea turtles.
National Aquarium Animal Rescue Director Jennifer Dittmar said in a statement: “We are ecstatic that Cornet made a successful recovery, but unfortunately, the threat of plastic pollution isn’t over for him or any of these turtles as they migrate along east coast waters. Marine debris continues to be a growing concern for the safety of sea turtles as they migrate along the waters of the east coast. Cornet’s case serves as a stark reminder of why the National Aquarium works to advocate for the elimination of single-use plastics and the removal of plastic pollution from waterways and wetlands.”
The aquarium also helped coordinate the release of 14 turtles that were rescued by the New England Aquarium, the New York Marine Rescue Center and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society.