New England Aquarium treats hundreds of cold stunned sea turtles

MASS. — The New England Aquarium is treating over 150 cold stunned turtles that were found on the beaches of Cape Cod around the time of November 18.

Staff and volunteers from Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary walked around the beach to try to find and save more cold-stunned turtles

“In years past, cold-stunned sea turtles would begin to wash ashore in late October. Milder weather means the waters of Cape Cod Bay are staying warmer for a prolonged period of time, which we believe could be a sign of climate change’s impact on the Gulf of Maine,” said Adam Kennedy, Director of Rescue and Rehabilitation.

The turtles were transported to Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital and upon evaluation, many of them were treated for pneumonia and dehydration.

According to aquarium staffers, this season 153 sea turtles: 120 critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles and 33 green turtles have been treated so far.

“All of our sea turtle patients receive individualized care based on their condition. Depending on the severity, turtles may need weeks, months, and sometimes more than a year of treatment before they are at a point where we can clear them for release back into the ocean,” said Director of Animal Health Dr. Charles Innis.

After spending some time in the hospital, turtles are transported to secondary rehabilitation facilities, where they continue to be cared for until it is safe for them to be released back into the ocean.

Many crucial turtles remain at the New England Aquarium, the turtles will complete full rehabilitation process and will be released next summer.

The number of cold-stunned sea turtles in Mass has increased from around 50 in 2000 to more than 700 in 2021.

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