Virginia Aquarium releases 3 sea turtles

Maleficent was hooked in the esophagus at Gloucester Point Fishing Pier on July 6. (Photo credit: Virginia Aquarium)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team has released three rehabilitated sea turtles back into the ocean.

The turtles were released at the Virginia Beach oceanfront on Friday morning.

• Boston Bruin, a loggerhead sea turtle, has been in rehabilitation from a boat strike fracture to its carapace for over a year at the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center. The injured turtle was discovered by a pound net fisher in Northampton County on June 12, 2013. Boston’s treatment included medication, wound care, and traction of its carapace to promote healing.

• Maleficent, a small Kemp’s ridley turtle will also be released. Maleficent was hooked in the esophagus at Gloucester Point Fishing Pier on July 6. She also possessed a deep penetrating wound on the right side of her head. The hook in Maleficent’s esophagus was removed surgically by Beach Pet Hospital.

• Gaston, a Kemp’s ridley, was accidentally hooked August 9 by a recreational fisherman at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. The hook was superficially in the beak and fell out before the Stranding Response Team arrived. However, Gaston was admitted for rehabilitation as a cautionary measure.

One of the turtles will be wearing a satellite tag and an acoustic tag. The turtle’s movements will be tracked on by satellite while the Navy will receive information provided by the acoustic tag.

The Navy is tracking the movements of sea turtles in the Chesapeake Bay and along the coast so scientists can better protect the turtles during training exercises.

The Stranding Response Team urges anyone who sees a hooked turtle to call the 24-hour hotline 757-385-7575.

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