SURF CITY (AP) — Months after being injured in the Atlantic Ocean, five rehabilitated sea turtles were released back into the water by a Surf City rescue center.
Multiple news outlets report hundreds of people gathered on the Topsail Island beach Wednesday to watch the turtles make their way through the sand and into the surf. All five recovered from injuries at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
Officials said the turtles are getting another chance at life in the wild, but their return comes with its own risks. Sea turtles are often harmed by boats and pollution.
“They’re healthier now,” volunteer Sandy Sly told the StarNews. “They’ve got a second chance. If they hadn’t rehabbed, they wouldn’t have a second chance.”
Jordan Dickinson, who worked as an intern at the rescue center last summer, had tears in her eyes as the turtles swam away.
Dickinson had found one of the turtles in July looking emaciated. She helped treat the female turtle over the summer and continued this year to monitor her progress.
“Just the fact that we got to take her out of the water and put her back in with a new chance of life, it’s amazing,” she said. “The ocean is where she belongs.”
The nonprofit has been rescuing and releasing turtles since opening in 1997.