As an update to an earlier blog post on the ambitious efforts to save sea turtles along the Gulf coast, we are happy to share that baby sea turtle will now be allowed to hatch freely from coastal beach nests.

Since July, more than 25,000 eggs have been removed from the Alabama and Florida coasts to keep hatchlings from emerging onto oiled beaches or swimming into oil slicks. Authorities say 13,671 hatchlings have been released into the Atlantic and the remaining eggs are still incubating.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, turtle habitats have become clean enough to allow the hatchlings an unfettered return to the Gulf. However, precautions are still being taken to protect the sea turtles on beaches where offshore conditions remain uncertain or where turtles might run into offshore booms or nighttime beach cleanup workers.

Most of the nests belong to threatened loggerhead sea turtles. A few endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle and green sea turtle nests were also moved.