Three Kemp's ridley sea turtles hit the surf at Ocean City Monday morning, returned to the wild by the National Aquarium after a prolonged rehabilitation.
The three were rescued in Cape Cod in November 2014, where they were found stranded and suffering from "cold stun,'' a sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. Two have been treated since then by the National Aquarium, and the third was initially treated at the National Marine Life Center on Cape Cod before being transferred to Baltimore in April for more rehabilitation.
Kemp's ridley turtles, smallest of the sea turtles, have been listed as endangered for more than 40 years. They continue to face threats from incidental capture in shrimp trawls and other fishing gear in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. More than 500 gathered on the beach at 40th Street to witness the turtles' release into the surf at 11:30 a.m., according to the aquarium.