Ten sea turtles rescued from cold waters last year have been returned to the deep.
The New England Aquarium says the marine reptiles were released on Cape Cod last week. The 10 turtles were found on New England beaches in November and December after almost perishing in frigid conditions.
“We are proud to operate one of the largest sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world, with staff who work tirelessly to bring these animals, including the critically endangered Kemp’s ridleys, back to full health,” said Adam Kennedy, Director of Rescue and Rehabilitation at the Aquarium. “This year marks the earliest the waters of Nantucket Sound have been warm enough to release our rehabilitated turtles, a sign of climate change’s impact in our own backyard.”
The released animals include five loggerheads, three green sea turtles and two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Some of the turtles were outfitted with tracking devices to allow researchers to study their behavior to aid in further conservation efforts.
After their rescue, the turtles were cared for at the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy. In addition to hypothermia, some of the turtles were suffering from pneumonia and even broken bones.
Sea turtles get cold-stunned and lethargic when water chills quickly and they can’t get to warmer waters. The cold alone can kill them, and can also lead to serious illness.
The New England Aquarium released 10 sea turtles into the waters of Cape Cod, June 29, 2022. (Photo courtesy New England Aquarium) The New England Aquarium released 10 sea turtles into the waters of Cape Cod, June 29, 2022. (Photo courtesy New England Aquarium)