I had a chance to see a sea turtle released back into the Atlantic Ocean this evening. It was at Coquina Beach in South Nags Head–actually south of South Nags Head just across from the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
It was a KempâåÛåªs Ridley–an endangered species–with the hopeful name of Hernando . . . although Hernando may be Hermione. KempâåÛåªs Ridleys donâåÛåªt show visible signs of sexual differentiation until theyâåÛåªre much more mature than this little fella.
He had spent six months getting better, brought to the rehab center at the North CarolinNorth Carolina Roanoke Island Aquariuma Roanoke Island Aquarium by the folks of N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles). According to everyone who had seen him or worked on him, Hernando was pretty sick when he was found on the beach. He had trouble eating–he actually had to be force fed at first–and was very weak.
But this was a pretty exciting day. The tide was definetly in; the water temperature perfect. And as Christian Legner, Husbandry Curator for the Aquarium, walked him closer to the ocean, he really began to squirm.
She put him in the water and it was almost anticlimactic–off he swam.