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3 endangered sea turtles released to the wild

Massachusetts Audubon naturalist Dennis Murley prepared to release a rehabilitated sea turtle.

Connie Merigo/ New England Aquarium

Massachusetts Audubon naturalist Dennis Murley prepared to release a rehabilitated sea turtle.

Three of 85 endangered sea turtles that were rescued from the shores of Cape Cod last year were released back into the ocean in Dennis in front of beachgoers and officials on Monday.

The turtles, named Snap, Crackle, and Tony the Tiger, were rescued after washing ashore and suffering from hypothermia between November and December of 2013, according to a statement from the New England Aquarium. Since then, they have been at the aquarium’s turtle hospital in Quincy, where they were warmed up over several days and rehabilitated.

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In June, four turtles who went through the same rehab were released in Virginia.

On Monday, a team of biologists and volunteers from the aquarium and Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, led by the aquarium’s rescue department director, Connie Merigo, took the three turtles to Dennis to be released, the statement said. The turtles were among the last to go back into the wild. Only one of the animals rescued last year remains in Quincy.

Snap, Crackle, and Tony have satellite tags on their shells that will send back information to researchers about where they migrate, what they eat, and where they travel for winter, the aquarium said. The tags will fall off in six to nine months.

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Scientists believe that many of the young turtles who wash ashore migrate into the Cape’s waters in the summer but are too inexperienced to navigate out of the land bucket created by the Cape’s curving peninsula, the aquarium said.

The waters cool in the fall, and the mostly inert, often hypothermic, turtles wash onto the beach, where the wildlife sanctuary rescues them. Since the 1990s, more than 1,200 endangered and threatened turtles have been saved by the aquarium, the statement said.

Snap and Crackle are green sea turtles that will grow to be up to 400 pounds, 20 times their current 20-pound weight. Tony, a 10-pound Kemp’s ridley turtle, will grow to about 100 pounds, the aquarium said.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.
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