After being rescued off the coast of Cape Cod this weekend, nine cold endangered sea turtles are currently recovering at New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital, Quincy.
Water temperatures around Cape Cod are now turning cool as the autumn is turning to winter, and these cold blooded creatures are at risk of being hypothermic. That’s exactly what happened with this rescued batch of Kemp’s ridely sea turtles.
As November marks the beginning of the turtle stranding season, its obvious that these sea turtles were found stranded on the shores of the Outer Cape, and this weekend’s rescues have bought the number of turtles in the care of the aquarium upto 11.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society and the aquarium is expected to rescue around 11 of these small sea turtles by the end of the year. It is speculated that the water in the Cape Cod bay tends to stun these sea turtles and push them towards the shore.
These turtles usually feed on the region’s crab, and once the temperature drops, they turn towards the warmer southern waters. If they fail to navigate the bay, they may become trapped and may freeze to death.
In general, the normal body temperature of a sea turtle is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and hypothermic levels could put it down to 50 degree Fahrenheit. 242 sea turtles were rescued last year, and these Kemp’s ridelys are actually an endangered species, and need all the help they can get.
“Our efforts are especially important because of how endangered these turtles are,” Tony LaCasse, spokesman of the NEA, explained. “They’re a species in slow but modest recovery.”
The worldwide female nesting population of this sea turtle is believed to be just 1000, and measures are now being taken to protect their nesting grounds. Commercial fishermen are also advised to avoid accidental catches and take precautions.
Following treatment, the Kemp’s ridelys will be released in the warmer waters off Florida or Georgia.