From rescue to release, rare sea turtle back home in the Gulf of Mexico

Baldwin County

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — An adult Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is back home after accidentally being caught last month by a surf fisherman in Orange Beach.

“The hook had caught her in the front left flipper,” says Donna Martin, who was on the beach that day but not for long after hearing there was a sea turtle in distress. “I jumped in the water and she was okay indeed. She was scared and she was strong.”

That was a little over two weeks ago. Now, with a clean bill of health and a new GPS tracker, one of the most endangered sea turtles in the world has a new lease on life.

Theresa Madrigal is the stranding coordinator for the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. She says every time the turtle comes up for air they will be able to track the turtle’s movements.

“We can get great info in particular with an adult turtle of where she goes this time of year, where her foraging grounds are during the winter months.”

A close encounter with a sea turtle is something rare. Donna Martin says it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she would happily do again.

“Everyone that we can protect and get back out there gives them a fighting chance to continue on so our kids and grandkids can experience this wonder.”

Anyone who hooks a sea turtle or comes in contact with a sea turtle injured or in distress call 866-SEA-TURTLE for help.

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