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National Aquarium releases loggerhead turtle back into ocean after rehabilitation

Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings might have been a loss for Baltimore, but there’s at least one Raven that warrants a celebration.

A loggerhead sea turtle named Raven was released back into the ocean Wednesday after a yearlong rehabilitation at the National Aquarium.

The turtle arrived last October, weighing less than a pound with a shell about 9 centimeters in length. This month, Raven, whose name was chosen by the public, weighed nearly 6 pounds with a shell more than 10 inches long — the size of a dinner plate — according to a recent press release.

Raven was one of 27 turtles released 10 miles off the shore of the Morehead City waterfront in North Carolina, part of the Loggerhead Head Start Program. Run by the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, the program enlists aquariums around the nation to host hatchlings and rehab them before their re-release into the wild, according to senior aquarist Beth Claus.

“We receive a struggling hatching, one who got a rough start or didn’t make it out of the nest,” said Claus. They learn to hunt and scavenge for food, dive and avoid predators during their yearlong residency.

“They’re life skills that ... gives them a headstart in life.”

Though Raven is now making its way out in the big swamp and Claus is sad to see the turtle go, the aquarium is already making way for a new hatchling this year, said Claus.

But instead of letting the public choose a name, Claus said she’ll likely leave it up to some hard-working volunteers this time.

“We hope to have a name in the next two weeks,” she said.

bbritto@baltsun.com

twitter.com/brittanybritto

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