A rehabilitated sea turtle will make its way to the water once more thanks to help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Tally, a Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle, will be released into the Gulf of Mexico come September. Tally was initially found on the shores of Talacre Beach in Northern Wales in November of 2021 on the brink of death, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release.
A dog walker reported Tally dead to the British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue, but Anglesey Sea zoo biologist Gem Simmons determined that Tally was still alive.
Zoo Director Frankie Hobro collaborated with Simmons to provide months of intensive care for Tally. Since then, Tally has made a full recovery.
Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtles happen to be one of the smallest and most endangered sea turtle species in the world.
They are normally found in the Gulf of Mexico and eastern North American waters, but baby Kemp Ridleys can get swept up in the Gulf Stream and carried all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, according to the release.
“The cold waters of the Northeast Atlantic usually result in certain death for this species of subtropical sea turtle in the winter. But thanks to the quick response of a great group of international partners and volunteers, Tally is alive and ready to come home,” U.S. FWS Texas Sea Turtle Coordinator Mary Kay Skoruppa wrote in the release.
Here’s how they’re getting Tally home
An international team was put in place to help Tally get home. To ensure that Tally’s transfer complies with the Endangered Species Act and The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, wildlife officials had to get Tally a CITES import permit for travel.
To figure out logistics for the flight, the Fish and Wildlife Serve contacted Turtles Fly Too and NOAA. Both Director Hobro and Tally recently flew back on a commercial flight donated by Turtles Fly Too, the news release states.
Upon returning to the U.S., Tally will be sent to the Houston Zoo. After the zoo’s veterinarians approve Tally’s release into the wild, they will continue to monitor the turtle with a tracking device.
What to do if you see a stranded sea turtle
Hundreds of stranded sea turtles are documented in Texas every year, according to the National Park Service.
Any sea turtle found washed ashore or floating can be considered stranded. It does not matter whether the sea turtle is alive or dead at the time it is located, NPS reported.
Live turtles are often sent to rehabilitation centers depending on their condition, while dead turtles receive a necropsy. Stranded sea turtles can be spotted year-round in bays, passes, the Gulf of Mexico, or along the shoreline, according to NPS.
To report a stranded sea turtle, flag down a passing turtle patroller April through mid-July, a law enforcement officer, or call 1-866-TURTLE5.
Here is some information to note in your report:
- The turtle’s location, size, proximity to the surf, and condition (dead or alive)
- Its location
- If the turtle is alive, stay at the site until a park representative arrives
If you catch a sea turtle while fishing, do not hesitate to call 1-866-TURTLE5. You will not get in trouble for catching a sea turtle by mistake.