Mae the sea turtle to be returned to Mae’s Beach Saturday after recovering from shell injury

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:42 PM CDT
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CAMERON PARISH, La. (KPLC) - Three rehabilitated sea turtles are set to be released at Mae’s Beach this weekend, including one that was found injured there last summer.

The three turtles will be released after Saturday’s beach sweep organized by Cameron Parish Beachfront Development.

Mae is a green sea turtle that was found on Mae’s Beach with blunt-force trauma to her shell, according to the Audubon Coastal Wildlife Network (CWN). Rehabilitators do not know how she was injured, but she has improved over the past year.

Mae is estimated to be 3 to 5 years old. She weighs 9.5 pounds, according to CWN.

“Mae was with us quite a while, so it is rewarding to see her heading back where she was originally found, healthy and ready to return to the Gulf,” said Audubon Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding, Rescue and Rehab Coordinator Gabriella Harlamert.

A fully-grown green sea turtle can weigh up to 350 pounds and live to be more than 70 years old, according to CWN.

Two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, Cayenne and Mint, will be released along with Mae. They were rescued from the New England coast last fall during a large cold-stunning event, according to CWN.

The group of turtles, all with spicy names, suffered chronic cold stunning after staying in coastal waters off Massachusetts too late in the season due to unusually warm water, according to CWN. Cold stunning can cause decreased heart rate, slowed breathing, decreased circulation and lethargy.

Cold stunning can also cause turtles to float on the surface, where they can suffer further cold conditions and develop shock and pneumonia.

The turtles were treated and rehabilitated at Audubon’s Aquatic Center at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans.

Cayenne had a fractured shell and a broken back flipper, likely from a boat strike, according to CWN. Her injuries are now healed.

Cayenne weighs 9.5 pounds, and Mint weighs 7 pounds. They are both estimated to be 2 to 4 years old.

Mae, Cayenne and Mint will be released at 1:30 p.m. after the luncheon for beach sweep volunteers at the Johnson Bayou Recreation Center.

Audubon officials said the public alerted rehabilitators of Mae’s injuries. They encourage anyone who sees stranded marine mammals or sea turtles, alive or dead, to contact them.

You can call the Audubon Coastal Wildlife Network at 877-942-5343 and be prepared to give an exact location or coordinates, photographs of the animal and details about the animal, such as its size and whether it is alive or dead.