Seven sea turtle hatchlings that were born last summer on a Delaware beach have been let go into the Gulf Stream waters off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The turtles were sent to the North Carolina Aquarium in December because the water is warmer there and the turtles would have a better chance at survival. The turtles were taken by boat about three hours off the coast and released into Gulf Stream currents that are about 75 degrees. Because of their small size, it’s not possible to tag the turtles, but wildlife officials are hopeful that the hatchlings will ride the Gulf Stream current across the Atlantic Ocean to their developmental grounds.
The turtles have already endured their fair share of hardship after being moved on the beach multiple times before hatching, and then being transported 370-miles on an eight hour trip to North Carolina. “These remarkable turtles were threatened by high tides, predators, hurricanes, tropical storm, and unfavorable temperatures,” says Delaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary Collin O’Mara. “To hear that they have been returned to the sea to continue their inspiring journey makes all this effort worthwhile.”
Even the appearance of a sea turtle nest on a Delaware beach was a surprise. The nest is believed to be the first in Delaware since the 1970s.