Sea Turtle Adoption
Sea Turtle & Fund Research Opportunities
Each year, four loggerhead hatchlings are selected from
nests laid by wild sea turtles at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False
Cape State Park and brought to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science
Center through our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Back
Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries for study, public display and eventual release.
On August 23, 2011, 76 tiny eggs hatched from a nest that
was laid two months earlier during the night of June 22-23 in False Cape State
Park. As the newborn sea turtles began their perilous journey to the ocean,
four of the hatchlings were recovered and brought to the Aquarium.
The young sea turtles will spend one year at the Aquarium
under the watchful eyes of our animal care staff. During this time, data will
be collected to develop a better understanding of the early growth and
development of loggerhead sea turtles. In the wild, these young loggerheads
would leave the beach and spend time drifting with currents in the open sea, a
period called the “lost years” because we know so little about their lives
during this time. This early period is especially difficult for hatchling sea turtles
and less than one in a thousand survive to adulthood.
After one year at the Aquarium, the young turtles are prepared
for release off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. The loggerheads are
released into sargassum mats in the Gulf Stream where young sea turtles are
believed to spend much of their early years at sea. This year, for the first
time, these yearling turtles have been equipped with satellite transmitters so
that we can monitor their movements and behavior once they re-enter their natural
With your gift of $5,000 or more you will officially
adopt a baby sea turtle, name it, and send it off on its journey home to the
sea. Your adoption will include:
behind the scenes opportunities, including a
meet & greet with your turtle and animal care staff;
chances to observe feedings, physical exams, and
satellite tag applications; and
hands-on participation during an in-shore turtle
Adopt a Sea Turtle
Now by contacting April Strickland.
Call (757) 385-0262 or email astrickla@VirginiaAquarium.com
*In-shore turtle releases
will be offered on the Virginia Aquarium’s Ocean
Explorer research vessel, allowing adoptive families to observe the release of sea
turtles that are part of the Aquarium’s research programs.