Featured Image Credit: Cheryl Burke
By: Sarah Sharkey
Seven sea turtles were recently released on Emerald Isle in North Carolina. There were six green sea turtles and one Kemp’s Ridley turtle in the release earlier this month.
All of the turtles had been rescued in March after a sharp drop in water temperature caused them to be cold-stunned. The turtles were taken to the North Carolina Aquarium and treated. They have been in recovery for the past three months.
Turtles are susceptible to cold stunning during unexpected harsh weather because they are cold blooded. That means that their body temperature is determined by their environment. If they do not anticipate a cold snap coming, then they will be stuck in a cold-stunned state or potentially die. Usually, this is not a problem because the turtles just migrate to warmer waters in the winter, but if a late cold snap happens many turtles are affected because they already migrated back to their colder water habitat.
Michelle Lamping, a staff member at the aquarium, said, “They were some of the lucky ones. They were found and rescued but there were likely others who were not.”
The release happened at 8 AM. The staff simply placed the turtles on the sand and watched them head for the waves. The crowd of onlookers cheered the turtles onward.
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