Featured Image Credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr
By Emily Persico
The New England Aquarium has reached full capacity after a flood of hypothermic sea turtles washed ashore on the beaches of Cape Cod Bay. To make room for newcomers, a couple from Michigan volunteered to transport 52 recovering sea turtles in their private jet. The turtles flew from the overflowing aquarium in Boston to the Florida panhandle last Friday.
November and December is a busy time for the New England Aquarium, and this year has been no exception. The Aquarium has already rescued 229 live sea turtles, the fourth largest number of rescues in the past 25 years.
More sea turtles are still spilling ashore. The Aquarium has accepted over 100 in the past week alone, and strong winds and cold waters are likely to cause even more strandings.
Those stranded include sea turtles from three different species. One species, the Kemp’s ridley, is critically endangered and considered the most threatened sea turtle in the world. These cold-blooded creatures are found in states of utter confusion. They are typically severely dehydrated, emaciated and suffering from symptoms of pneumonia.
Like the 52 turtles that are to stay the rest of the cold winter months in sunny Florida, these frozen misadventurers must spend a couple months to a full year in rehab before they can be released. Wildlife specialists at New England Aquarium re-warm sea turtles at a rate of about five degrees per day in their sea turtle hospital before shipping them off for recovery in rehab facilities along the East Coast. The 52 Florida sea turtles will recover in safety and, eventually, released back into the wild, wild ocean.
Check out more on this story and about these turtles by clicking here.