Green Sea Turtle Makahiki to be Released Thursday, June 14, 11 a.m. at First Landing State Park

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

(Virginia Beach, VA) – You might say that the green sea turtle “Makahiki” wintered-over at the Marine Animal Care Center of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. The limp cold-stunned turtle arrived at the center New Year’s Day, and after six months of rehabilitation with the Aquarium’s Stranding Response Program, Makahiki is ready to be returned to the sea. The public is invited to see the release from First Landing State Park on Thursday, June 14, at 11 a.m.


Makahiki, which means New Year in Hawaiian, was named by the Sandbridge residents who discovered her, Anne and Bill Gasset. They knew exactly who to call since two Christmases ago they had worked with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team to rescue a Kemp’s ridley turtle they named “Kalikimaka”, which means Christmas in Hawaiian. The turtle will be fitted with a satellite transmitter so the Stranding Team and others can track her post-release success on


Makahiki has gained two pounds during its winter stay and the sea turtle has been deemed fully fit by the veterinarian. Perhaps one day Makahiki will meet Kalikimaka who was rehabilitated and released June 16, 2009.


The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program’s mission is to promote the conservation of marine animal species through stranding response, research, rehabilitation and education. It is largely a volunteer-based group operating from the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center in Virginia Beach. The program is supported by the Virginia Aquarium Foundation through donations from the community, and grant-making organizations. To report a dead or live stranded marine mammal or sea turtle call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575.


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These images are available in a larger file upon request.


Makahiki Before




Makahiki After



The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums whose mission is conservation through education. The Aquarium is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard, just south of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach.  For more information on exhibits, movies, boat rides and special events, call (757) 385-FISH (3474), (TDD 385-4305) or visit

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