POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ — Four sea turtles, including a 250-pound loggerhead, will be returned to the ocean from the Point Pleasant beach at 7 a.m. tomorrow, September 5.

Sea Turtle Recovery (STR), the nonprofit hospital located inside the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, will be conducting the release of “Tammie,” the large adult loggerhead rescued more than a year ago off the Cape May coast, as well as three juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

It is the second release for STR, which has rehabilitated and released 23 endangered and threatened sea turtles since opening in December 2016. It is the only facility in the state that rehabilitates sea turtles needing long-term care.

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Last year, it also sent a team to Point Pleasant to place Humphry, an 87-pound Loggerhead sea turtle, back in the water.

Tammie was rescued by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, which found her floating and unable to dive off the coast of Cape May, while on routine patrol. The crew used a deployable response boat and cargo net to bring Tammie onto the ship, while STR staff embarked the cutter to stabilize her and help bring her to shore. Tammie was rehabilitated for injuries received from propeller strikes across her carapace, top shell, and she is now ready to go back home surfside.

“Watching Tammie return to the ocean will be highly rewarding.  After over a year in rehabilitation, this turtle and all of the turtles getting released take a piece of my heart with them on their journey,” said Brandi Biehl, co-executive officer of STR.  

Tammie will be joined by Glacier who has recovered from a broken flipper, Shellbie who recovered from fungal pneumonia, and Junior who is now healthy after a respiratory infection.  These Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are critically endangered, which makes their return home vital in the effort to save their species, according to STR.

“To see the fight to survive in these sea turtles’ eyes, it makes you realize how fragile our oceans are and how it is our responsibility to keep it safe for the animals that call it home,” Biehl said.

The release strategy is a coordinated effort to ensure that the sea turtles return to the ocean safely. Jenkinson’s Aquarium and Boardwalk, the Point Pleasant Dive Team, Point Pleasant Mayor Stephen Reid, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. and Turtle Back Zoo have all assisted Sea Turtle Recovery’s beach preparations.

The release will be held near Jenkinson’s Aquarium at Water Street. There will then be an after-release breakfast starting at 8:30 a.m. at White Sands Resort and Spa, 1205 Ocean Avenue. Cost is $15 for breakfast and hearing the stories behind the turtles’ recoveries. In addition, STR staff will have a table on sea turtle conservation at Jenkinson’s Aquarium between noon and 1:30 p.m.

STR also will be sharing the release video on its Facebook page.

For release information, visit its website by clicking here.

Donations can be made to Sea Turtle Recovery, P.O. Box 497, West Orange, NJ 07052.  

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