TAMPA - The Kemper’s Ridley critically endangered sea turtles arrived on a Coast Guard C-130 at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
The turtles were packed in blue, plastic shipping crates with wet towels for moisture. They arrived in the back of a Florida Aquarium van where rescue workers unloaded the crates and took the sea turtles to their new circular tanks in a white tent behind the Aquarium.
"So we were able to section these tanks into quarters making it so each individual turtle has their own little tank," said Susan Coy, a vet technician and turtle expert.
Coy has spent days prepping for their arrival. "We're a rehab facility so whatever we need to do get those animals in shape, to release them," she said.
The Florida Aquarium is one of three rehab facilities in the Tampa Bay area tapped to house oiled sea turtles because their vets and vet techs are specially trained.
"They put each turtle in basically a tupperware container with padding. It could be towels or some other kind of padding that protects the turtle during transportation," said Tom Wagner, spokesperson for The Florida Aquarium.
The sea turtles will be fed the good stuff prepared in the Aquarium's kitchen.
"These are some of the veggies I feed them, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini," holding a container from the kitchen’s refrigerator.
"This is 'Grade A' meant for human consumption for restaurant quality food," she said, showing us frozen shrimp, squid, and fish.
Coy says for now, it’s time for the turtles to chill out and get strong.
She believes when they’re ready, they’ll likely be released in Florida’s clean water.
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