QUINCY, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 150 sea turtles were rescued from Cape Cod to be treated for hypothermia at the New England Aquarium.
Cold-stunned sea turtles along Cape Cod beaches were taken to New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital by staff and volunteers from Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to be treated for hypothermia and the inability to feed. The staff has treated 133 critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles and 37 green turtles, many suffering from dehydration and pneumonia.
The New England Aquarium told 22News that the number of cold-stunned sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts varies from year to year but has steadily increased from around 50 in 2000 in more than 700 in 2021.
To support sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation, New England Aquarium will match donations during their annual Giving Tuesday campaign.
“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.
“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.
Due to the number of sea turtles being taken in, more than 50 stabilized turtles were taken to rehabilitation facilities in Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, and New York.