GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport was selected by NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services as the recipient of one of 10 adult non-releasable Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.

The turtles were flown by Turtles Fly Too in April 2022 to SeaWorld in Orlando, where they received expert care during a mandatory 90-day quarantine.

After the quarantine, the female sea turtle was flown by Turtles Fly Too to Mississippi Aquarium from Orlando. The aquarium will house its new resident in Aquatic Wonders, its oceanic habitat. 

“Mississippi Aquarium is honored to be the recipient of a highly endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle,” said Mississippi Aquarium CEO and President Kurt Allen. “These turtles are native to the Mississippi Sound, and our guests now have the opportunity to see one in our main oceans habitat. We are very grateful to NOAA  and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for recognizing Mississippi Aquarium as a leader in Kemp’s ridley sea turtle rehabilitation and for selecting us as one of only a few aquariums to receive one of these unique turtles.”

The aquarium as helped rehabilitate and release more than 60 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Mississippi Sound since 2020.