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Green Sea Turtle, ‘Makahiki’ to be released tomorrow

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Posted at 11:09 AM, Jun 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-13 11:09:17-04

Thursday, June 14, 11 a.m., First Landing State Park

A Green Sea Turtle is now ready to be released into the wild after undergoing rehab, according to Virginia Aquarium officials.

Officials say the Green Sea Turtle, “Makahiki”, spent the winter at the Marine Animal Care Center of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

The limp, cold-stunned turtle arrived at the center New Year’s Day, and after six months of rehabilitation with the Aquarium’s Stranding Response Program, Makahiki is ready to be returned to the sea.

The public is invited to see the release from First Landing State Park on Thursday, June 14, at 11 a.m.

Makahiki, which means New Year in Hawaiian, was named by the Sandbridge residents who discovered her, Anne and Bill Gasset.

Virginia Aquarium officials say they knew exactly who to call since two years ago in December they had worked with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team to rescue a Kemp’s ridley turtle they named “Kalikimaka”, which means Christmas in Hawaiian.

The turtle will be fitted with a satellite transmitter so the Stranding Team and others can track her post-release success on http://www.seaturtle.org.

Makahiki has gained two pounds during its winter stay and the sea turtle has been deemed fully fit by the veterinarian. Perhaps one day Makahiki will meet Kalikimaka who was rehabilitated and released June 16, 2009.

The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program’s mission is to promote the conservation of marine animal species through stranding response, research, rehabilitation and education. It is largely a volunteer-based group operating from the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center in Virginia Beach. The program is supported by the Virginia Aquarium Foundation through donations from the community, and grant-making organizations. To report a dead or live stranded marine mammal or sea turtle call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575.