WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) — Baby endangered sea turtles, threatened by the gulf oil spill, have been whisked from harm’s way to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, authorities said.
Twenty-two young Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, raised from eggs rescued from Florida’s gulf coast last month, were released into the Atlantic Ocean from a space center beach July 11, SPACE.com reported.
The relocation and release effort is a joint effort of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state and federal agencies, SPACE.com said.
There are plans to move an estimated 700 nests from the Florida panhandle and Alabama beaches to the space center over the next several months to protect more endangered sea turtles.
There was concern over how the eggs would survive the relocation, wildlife technicians said.
“The sign that these animals are starting to pip and come and prepare to emerge over the next two days is very big, good news,” one technician said. “This means they survived the excavation process, they survived the trip across the state of Florida, they made it into our facility, and they’re doing what they normally would do, and this is just great. Good stuff.”
Located on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Kennedy Space Center possesses both the expertise and equipment to care for a variety of wildlife, NASA said.
As part of the Gulf oil spill response, six brown pelicans, four laughing gulls and one common tern were also released at the space center on June 6, SPACE.com reported.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.