Dozens of sea turtles, all of them near death, were stranded on the cold Massachusetts shore and rescued by the New England Aquarium’s rescue program this week.
All of them are hypothermic when they were found. In some cases, their body temperatures fell into the 40s, and their heart-rate dropped to one or two beats per minute. Even so, with proper care, most will be rehabilitated. Already this year, close to 200 sea turtles have stranded along the Cape and have been rescued. They include loggerheads and Kemp’s Ridley turtles.
Since found, a majority of these cold-stressed turtles have been flown from New England to Florida to aid in recovery efforts. The turtles have been distributed throughout numerous wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Florida. The turtles will be returned to their natural habitat once ocean temperatures become warmer.
Most species of sea turtle are endangered. People generally don’t know what to do when they find a stranded sea turtle on the beach. They may think that a hypothermic sea turtle is actually dead or even worse, may think it’s a good idea to throw it back into the ocean. In fact, one should call an aquarium or ask local animal control to help out. Hypothermic sea turtles will need to be delivered to proper research facility for rehabilitation and recovery.
Follow GR8-White for the latest in marine conservation news and updates.