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Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Get a Loving Send Off Back to Their Ocean Home

Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Get a Loving Send Off Back to Their Ocean Home

This is a guest post from Sea Turtles 911

With ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, there is one marine issue that the U.S. and China proudly agree on: saving sea turtles from extinction. Officials from the United States Consulate General and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China joined Sea Turtles 911 to release three rehabilitated sea turtles back to the South China Sea.

U.S. Consul General Jennifer Galt speaks at the opening ceremony of the Sea Turtle Shelter

“Our governments must continue to work together to develop policy and programs that protect our most precious resources, businesses must play an active role in responsible development, and groups like Sea Turtles 911 must continue to fight for protection of local resources like sea turtles through education and outreach,” said U.S. Consul General Jennifer Galt.

While the crowd watched, the rehabilitated turtles began their second chance in life as they scrambled safely back to their ocean home. Four months ago, the sea turtles were injured by plastic pollution and rescued by Sea Turtles 911. The turtles immediately became internet stars after an online campaign raised awareness about their rescue and conservation. Two of the rescued turtles were endangered green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) named “Ye” and “Qiu,” while one of the turtles was a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) named “Tutu,” after an online voting poll that involved tens of thousands of people from the internet community. Founder of Sea Turtles 911, Frederick Yeh, said, “Sea turtles are migratory animals that serve as natural ambassadors of the ocean; as communities and countries work together to preserve this natural resource for future generations, our shared mission to save sea turtles nurtures a peaceful platform of common grounds to improve community and international relations.”

Sea Turtles 911 Founder Frederick Yeh guides three rehabilitated turtles back to their ocean home.

The turtle release event marked the opening of Sea Turtles 911′s Sea Turtle Shelter at the Ritz-Carlton Sanya in Hainan, China. The shelter serves as an educational facility to raise public awareness on the plight of sea turtles, while providing a home for disabled turtles unable to survive in the wild, and a temporary place to monitor rehabilitated sea turtles waiting to be released. Quasi, a disabled sea turtle named after The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is one of the turtles at the shelter who suffers from scoliosis, a spinal deformity that has left him floating on the surface of the water for the rest of his life. In the wild, Quasi would be an easy target for passing boats and would have difficulty diving to find food on his own; but at the shelter, he is an easy target for people to care for and learn about sea turtle conservation. As the environmentalist Baba Dioum once said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”

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Image Credits: Sea Turtles 911

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4:33PM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Turtle rescue at the Ritz? Sounds like a business ploy to me. Bring in tourist money and get to see turtles. Too much of a coincidence to me. But if any lives get saved it is better for the turtles. I find it hard to believe that China in the last few months has jumped on the conservation bandwagon....

6:29PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

I sometimes wonder how much of promotions like these are just that -- marketing ploys, so the real work of eliminating gill nets and only allowing sustainable fishing don't have to be adopted. However, I'm glad for any endangered animals being returned to their native habitat, and totally LOVE the Baba quote at the end!

9:37AM PST on Feb 2, 2014

Kudos to Sea Turtle 911,thanks for sharing

11:09PM PST on Feb 1, 2014

Thanks for Sharing :)

9:05AM PST on Feb 1, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

10:27PM PST on Jan 31, 2014

Good to know.

6:50AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

good news....................hope it will be true in the future for all animals like the imprisoned bile bears as Ruth reminded us off

4:02AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

Good to raed this after the terrible post about the dog and kitten in Calgary.

3:17AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

I'm a little concerned about the Ritz-Carlton's involvement, but maybe that can be a good thing. I'm happy that these turtles are being cared for and rehabbed. Thanks for a good start to my day.

9:34PM PST on Jan 30, 2014

Good to see that turtles were looked after and send to sea

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