Local loggerhead sea turtle is returning to the wild - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Local loggerhead sea turtle is returning to the wild

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Delta is a 15-month-old loggerhead sea turtle that has found its home at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center for the past year.

Now, she is being released into the Gulf Stream. Delta hatched on Tybee Beach as a straggler on Aug. 19, 2012 and was rescued as part of the Tybee Island Marin Science Center's Head Start Program.

"We got her and were able to give her a better chance than the other stragglers that were with her," said Michael Partridge with the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

Delta will travel nearly 120 miles offshore to the edge of the Sargasso Sea and return to Tybee in 30 years. She cannot stay in the waters off Tybee because she is not big enough.

"The waters off our coast are filled with larger turtles, not usually where her size turtles would be. They wait over 30 years in the Sargasso Sea before they come back to our beaches," said Partridge.

They will release her from the Research Vessel Savannah, with the help of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, as part of a multi-purpose research cruise. Delta received her final checkup from Georgia Sea Turtle Center's Dr. Terry Norton, who says she's "ready to go."

"She has been feeding well, a lot more than a normal sea turtle would get out in the wild so she is nice and healthy," said Partridge.

In preparation for her release into the wild, Delta has been eating live crabs and jellies which helped her bulk up to a healthy fourteen pounds.

Delta's tank will not remain empty for long. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center has another young straggler loggerhead waiting in the wings to take Delta's place in the science center's lineup.

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