CEDAR KEY -- The first rehabilitated turtles oiled by BP's massive leak have been released back into the Gulf of Mexico.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is overseeing the oil crisis for the government, helped release the 22 oiled sea turtles Wednesday about a mile off the coast of Cedar Key, Fla.
It was the surest sign yet that the turtles -- along with birds -- might be faring better than first feared.
Allen says the turtles' release is "emblematic of us starting to look forward in the recovery."
Even though oil spill rescue crews have brought more sea turtles and birds to shore in the month since BP capped its broken well than the previous month, wildlife officials say both kinds of animals have suffered less damage than originally projected.