Turtles affected by oil spill released back into the sea

Tuesday - 8/24/2010, 10:31am EDT

Barbara Schroeder, national sea turtle coordinator, NOAA

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By Vyomika Jairam
Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Sea turtles affected by the BP oil spill have been returned to the Gulf thanks to the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since the beginning of spill, over 500 live turtles, have been brought in for rehabilitation, Barbara Schroeder NOAA's national sea turtle coordinator said.

"Most of those are still in rehabilitation, we've actually just started the releases in recent weeks," Schroeder said. "About 350 still remain in rehab."

NOAA collected turtles that were debilitated by oil, heavily coated in many cases and immoblilized. Aside from cleaning them of oil and debris, some of the turtles also required fluids and antibiotics. Most of the turtles collected were young, the size of dinner plates Schroeder said. "So in the early life stages."

Six of the seven species of turtles are considered endangered or threatened species, Schroeder said.

"There is a lot of work to be done from the policy side as well as the science side," Schroeder said. "Those of us that work with turtles welcome positive attention for sea turtles, and hope that translates into support."

The even better news now that the turtles are being released?

"We are finding, since the well has been capped, that fewer and fewer turtles, in fact none in recent weeks, are in need of rehabilitation," Schroeder said.