A survey of sea turtle rehabilitation facilities in the United States revealed that 34 facilities released 11,417 sea turtles through 2016. The number of turtles released per time period increased over time, with 80% of releases occurring between 2007 and 2016, 15% between 1997 and 2006, and 5% prior to 1997. Twenty facilities reported a total of 314 first re-encounters and 6 second re-encounters of turtles that had been previously released, including 12 turtles encountered while successfully nesting. Results revealed substantial efforts to rehabilitate sea turtles in the United States, with some rehabilitated turtles surviving for extended periods after release, but with the fate of most remaining unknown. Greater efforts to determine the long-term outcome for a larger proportion of rehabilitation cases are warranted.
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Vol. 18 • No. 1