SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX—In what wildlifestyle reformation volunteers are calling a "positive step," the first group of rehabilitated Girls Gone Wild were released back into the civilized world Monday, and early signs indicate that they are adjusting smoothly, according to the director of the group responsible for their rescue.

Two Girls Gone Wild in their natural habitat, just before capture at the height of molting season.

"At first, the girls were disoriented," said Janet Ottley, director of the South Padre Island Wild Life Rescue Foundation. "They were frightened by the absence of familiar comforts such as overt male attention, binge drinking, and camcorders. But over time, we've seen improvement: so far, no reports of nipple exposure, so we're very hopeful."

The 11 girls were captured nearly one month ago during their annual spring migration to the area and then put through an intensive rehabilitation program. "They have come a very long way," Ottley said. "When we first brought them into our clinic, they could barely function beyond baring their breasts, and they communicated solely through loud, sustained hoots."

As their subspecies does every year, the Girls Gone Wild, roaming in packs, flocked to bars and clubs during the spring break migratory season. Lured by drink specials, promotional merchandise, and the chance to "go wild," they were discovered at Señor Chug Chug's, a nightspot where the girls gathered to perform a mating ritual in which brief nudity is exchanged for Jell-O shots and Smirnoff Ice trucker hats.

Rescue volunteers identified the Girls Gone Wild by their torn tank tops, threadbare Daisy Duke-style cutoff shorts, hair extension plumage, and bright orange skin with patterned lower-back markings.

Park ranger Jeff Macken, who assisted in the rescue effort, said they attracted the girls with bright lights similar to those of camera crews. "We had planned to catch them with a net, then sedate them," Macken said. "But we found that shooting them with tranquilizer darts was not as effective as taking a page from nature and putting Rohypnol in their exotic drinks."

The girls were put through an intensive recovery program and, over several weeks, slowly phased back into civilized behavior. Trainers gently conditioned them not only to reduce breast baring, but also to shower alone instead of in pairs or threesomes, and to drink from glasses rather than from each other's navels.

Captured Girls Gone Wild in a simulated classroom setting, where tracking collars that emit a slight shock are used to curb the girls' instinct to jump up on desks and remove their tops.

Despite the girls' early positive response, Ottley said that there is still a risk that they could revert to their wild state, so she continued to severely restrict their exposure to the outside world. "Any proximity to a D-list celebrity, a song by Poison, or a neon beer bong could set reintegration back to square one," Ottley said.

In later stages, long-sleeved shirts and full-bottomed panties were reintroduced into their wardrobes. Finally, they were taught to engage in basic economic exchanges, rather than breast-jiggling for plastic beads.

Critics of the program argue that girls, after they've gone wild, can never function at the same level as girls who remain tame, and, once reintroduced into society, pose a threat to non-wild girls.

"Let's face it, they were in the wild too long," said Fort Lauderdale car-show organizer Daryl Dykstra. "At best, they might become spokesmodels, but only through hard work and constant validation." Dykstra reluctantly conceded that they might have some use as Hooters waitresses or tanning-salon clerks.

Ottley disagreed, saying that Girls Gone Wild are "entirely capable" of rejoining society.

"They will be tagged with radio-equipped belly-button rings to alert us of any sign of G-strings or wet T-shirts," Ottley said. "Continual monitoring is essential, because you never really know just how wild these girls could get."