Rescued sea turtle begins journey home

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH—  Vesper, a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, was released back into the ocean early Tuesday morning near Water Street, marking the third consecutive year in which a rehabilitated sea turtle has been released on the borough’s beachfront.

Vesper had been rehabilitated by Sea Turtle Recovery [STR], a nonprofit based at Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo, which has partnered with Jenkinson’s Aquarium for the past three years to release sea turtles back to their natural oceanic habitat off Point Pleasant Beach.  

“Jenkinson’s Aquarium has been a longtime supporter of Sea Turtle Recovery. They have worked with us to help set up the beach to make a safe release. Also, the Point Pleasant Beach mayor, Stephen Reid, has been very supportive of our efforts,” said Sea Turtle Recovery Co-Executive Officer Bill Deerr. Vesper is the 41st turtle the nonprofit has rehabilitated and released.

“Every year, Point Pleasant Beach and Jenkinson’s staff look forward to Sea Turtle Recovery’s New Jersey releases. Knowing that our community is able to provide a clean and safe oceanfront and beach for this critically endangered sea turtle’s return home is extremely fulfilling,” stated Mayor Reid in a July 29 STR press release.

The story of how Vesper came to be with STR was shared in the press release.

The sea turtle was stranded after becoming cold-stunned, a condition in which a sea turtle’s body systems begin to shut down if the animal failed to migrate before water temperatures became too cold. Vesper was also diagnosed with an impaction of swallowed sand, a severe ear infection and pneumonia, all of which are now cured.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.