FLAGLER BEACH - After nearly two years of treatment, a rare Kempís
Ridley Atlantic Sea Turtle was released today at Gamble Rogers Memorial State
Recreation Area in Flagler Beach. The turtle, suffering from a severe bone
infection in both of its front flippers, several finger joints and injuries to
both elbows, was found stranded on November 30, 2003 in Eastham, Massachusetts,
with frostbite and erosion injuries from being tossed around on the beach from
cold, rough surf.
We are honored to release this rehabilitated Kempís Ridley to the wild from the
shores of one of our State Parks, said Florida State Parks Director Mike
Bullock. The pristine waters of the Atlantic at Gamble Rogers are perfect for
this occasion, and I appreciate the Florida Aquariumís biologist and Florida
State Park volunteer for helping with this occasion.
The Kempís Ridley Sea Turtle is an endangered species with only around 1,000
nesting females in the world. Kempís Ridley, the smallest species of sea turtle,
has been listed as endangered since December 2, 1970. Today, under strict
protection, the population appears to be in the earliest stages of recovery.
The Florida Aquarium recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as a non-profit
education and rehabilitation institution. The sea turtle rehabilitation program
started with the record breaking northeast winter in 1999 which left more than
300 cold-stunned turtles needing placement. The program, which has released more
than 30 turtles, has a full time vet staff which cares for Kempís Ridley,
loggerhead and green sea turtles.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, Gamble Rogers
Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach is the namesake of Florida folk
singer Gamble Rogers and railroad entrepreneur Henry Flagler. The beach is the
parkís most popular feature, where visitors enjoy swimming, sunbathing or
beachcombing. Along the Intracoastal Waterway, picnic pavilions provide a shady
place to enjoy a meal, and a nature trail winds through a shady coastal forest
of scrub oaks and saw palmetto
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