LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — An endangered sea turtle was released back into the sea off the coast of Long Beach today, making its swim home nearly eight months after its rescue.
The olive ridley sea turtle was underweight, hypothermic and barely breathing when it was discovered stranded off Venice Beach by Marine Animal Rescue workers in early January.
Veterinarian Lance Adams at the Aquarium of the Pacific spent the past several months getting the turtle’s energy back and preparing it for release.
The doctor told KNX1070′s Ron Kilgore he considers it a bonus whenever he gets to help sea life outside the aquarium.
“Most of the time [we spend] working with the collection of animals we have at the aquarium for educational purposes and trying to keep them healthy,” Dr. Adams said.
“But doing this really makes us feel like we’re supporting the mission of the aquarium a little further, providing some stewardship for the animals that live out in the ocean.”
The Aquarium of the Pacific worked with the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the Port of Long Beach and Harbor Breeze Cruises on the release.
The turtle has a temporary GPS device attached to its back so that researchers can learn more about sea turtles and track its movements, which can be viewed from the aquarium’s website.
Sea turtles suffer from habitat loss due to coastal development in their native habitats, overcrowded beaches and poaching.
People can help sea turtles by preventing trash from entering waterways, choosing sustainable tourism and volunteering with the Aquarium’s local sea turtle monitoring program.