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Houston Zoo releases sea turtles back into the wild

All four of the turtles are part of threatened or endangered species living in the Gulf of Mexico
Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo released four sea turtles back into the wild on May 19, 2020.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas — Some sea turtles were released back into the wild Monday afternoon after weeks of being cared for by the Houston Zoo.

Three green turtles were sent swimming back into Christmas Bay. They were found underweight and stunned by the cold earlier this year in Lake Jackson and Freeport.

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle was released in the Gulf of Mexico. It was caught by a fisherman two weeks ago. The turtle had a hook through the bottom of its mouth that Houston Zoo staff removed and treated the wound.

There are five species of sea turtles inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are either threatened or endangered. They include the Kemp’s ridley, green, leatherback, Atlantic hawksbill, and loggerhead sea turtles.

Sea turtles are threatened by plastic pollution, discarded fishing line or nets, vehicle traffic, the development of beaches and light pollution, zoo officials said.

But, the zoo noted, sea turtle populations are slowly recovering with the help of conservation efforts.

People are urged to call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if they find or accidentally catch a sea turtle so that an expert can assess the turtle and provide care if needed.

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