Critically Endangered Sea Turtles Stranded On Cape Cod

QUINCY (CBS) — Biologists at the New England Aquarium’s rehab facility in Quincy are nursing nearly a dozen sea turtles back to health after they were stranded on Cape Cod beaches.

Senior aquarium biologist Adam Kennedy says they start to see turtle strandings on the Cape every year around this time as the temperatures drop.

“These turtles are warm-water animals,” he said. “In the summer, Cape Cod Bay is a great place, it’s warm.”

But when fall arrives and the turtles are supposed to head south, Cape Cod’s unique shape creates problems.

“The arm kind of acts as a trap,” Kennedy said. “They don’t understand they have to go north to get around the Cape to go south again.”

Sea turtles being rehabilitated in pools (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Sea turtles being rehabilitated in pools (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Eleven critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were found cold and hungry, but all are expected to survive.

“What we’re seeing are turtles with cold body temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s, animals that probably haven’t eaten in about three to four weeks,” Kennedy said.

The focus is to slowly raise the turtles’ body temperature back to the mid-70s while getting them to start swimming and feeding again, Kennedy said.

“All the turtles so far, once they’ve entered the water, have started doing what turtles do – trying to swim,” he said. “Which is a good sign.”

Biologists nursing sea turtles back to good health (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Biologists nursing sea turtles back to good health (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Biologists hope to release the turtles into the wild from the south coast of the Cape in a few months.

WBZ NewsRadio1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports: 

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