Institute of Marine Mammal Studies representative releases a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle in the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi Gulf Coast beach in Pass Christian, Miss. Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner –

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Inc. (IMMS) of Gulfport and representatives from the Mississippi State University veterinarian program helped release four Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles to the Gulf of Mexico at a part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches in Pass Christian.

The sea turtles were found in Massachusetts where they were placed under recovery and shipped to several different facilities; such as IMMS, to do long term rehabilitation care.

“All four sea turtles came from Massachusetts in December of 2022 and this was a massive event they have every single year transferring turtles down south,” said IMMS, Inc. Stranding Coordinator Theresa Madrigal.  “Whenever we are planning for a release, we coordinate and speak with federal and state partners like the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to see if the locations we choose are safe and water quality for the animals.”

Madrigal expressed an appreciation of the partnership between IMMS, Inc. and the Mississippi State University Veterinary School and the on-site veterinarians that help with the program in preparation for release.  These individuals normally provide the veterinary care of the animals.

Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty welcomed everyone to the release and thanked the organization, the university and the schools present for being part of a quality event.

This was the second release of the sea turtles on the Pass Christian beaches where the first was attended by Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann in July 2021.