BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Following the release of 11 sea turtles last week, the National Aquarium reached the milestone of 350 animals rehabilitated and released back into the wild since the organization opened the Animal Care and Rescue Center in 1991.

The 11 sea turtles, including nine Kemp’s Ridley and two green sea turtles, were part of a group of 30 that were transported to the center for treatment for cold stunning, which brings about ailments such as pneumonia, dehydration, emaciation, shell and skin lesions, eye lesions and blood infections, the aquarium said in a news release.

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The patients were named for musical instruments, the theme of the 2021-2022 rescue season. And while Tuba, Trombone, Ukulele, Bell, Oboe, Cello, Didgeridoo, Tambourine, Triangle, Guitar and Saxophone were not healthy enough to be released earlier, they were returned to sea off the coast of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina by aquarium staff on April 27.

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“We are proud to share that with the help of our local, regional and national partners, we have rehabilitated and released 350 animals back into their ocean homes,” said National Aquarium rehabilitation manager Caitlin Bovery. “Each time we return an animal back into its natural habitat we are reinvigorated and motivated to continue this critical mission work.”

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The National Aquarium’s rescue program provides care for stranded marine mammals and sea turtles recovered along the Maryland coast, and the group works with partner organizations across the Mid-Atlantic.

Brandon Weigel