New England Aquarium treats more than 150 hypothermic sea turtles with annual stranding season underway
New England Council member, the New England Aquarium has reported an increase in treatment for hypothermic sea turtles. The number of cold-stunned sea turtles found in Massachusetts has been steadily increasing for the past 20 years. Warmer ocean temperatures during the Fall have delayed the sea turtle stranding season and indicate climate change’s effect on the New England region.
Since the beginning of stranding season, the New England Aquarium and its partners have surveyed the beaches around Cape Cod to find turtles and transport them to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital for treatment. Once the turtles arrive at the hospital, they are given a physical exam to determine the best course of treatment. Staff at the hospital say most of the turtles are severely dehydrated and have pneumonia. Each turtle receives a custom treatment to ensure they are given the appropriate amount of time to recover before they return to the ocean. The healing process can take weeks to years depending on the severity of the turtle’s condition. In total, the hospital has treated 170 turtles this season; this includes 133 critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles and 37 green turtles.
Director of Animal Health at the New England Aquarium, Dr. Charles Innis said, “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.”
The New England Council commends the New England Aquarium’s commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating sea life around New England.
Read more from New England Aquarium.