QUINCY (CBS) — 79 turtles who were once stranded on the beaches of Cape Cod are now on their way to new rehab facilities.

On Friday morning, workers with the New England Aquarium and the National Marine Life Center loaded the sick turtles into planes at Marshfield Municipal Airport.

The Aquarium’s Quincy location and the National Marine Life Center had been treating them for severe pneumonia.

“Turtles are unable to thermoregulate. And so in the winter, as Cape Cod temperatures drops, their internal temperature drops,” said New England Aquarium Senior biologist Sarah Perez. “And they get what we call cold-stunning, where they’re unable to swim. And so they strand on the beaches of Cape Cod.”

The turtles are now stable enough to move and the non-profit “Turtles Fly Too” is flying them to rehab centers in Florida, New York, and New Jersey.

Moving them out frees up more space for the Aquarium to help other turtles.

More than 500 turtles have been rescued from Cape beaches so far this season.

CBSBoston.com Staff