A sudden drop in water temperatures this week has increased the number of cold-stunned sea turtles arriving for care at all three North Carolina Aquariums.
As of Wednesday, they have more than 60 turtles in their care, including 40 at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, 17 at the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, and four at the Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
Cold-stunned turtles experience hypothermia-like symptoms, leaving them floating on the surface and stranded on surrounding beaches. During these cold-stun events, volunteers from the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) and the National Park Service locate and transport the stranded turtels to the STAR Center.
Treating these turtles requires increased staff resources and a wide range of medications, supplements, diagnostic tests and overall operational support.
Once the turtles display normal swimming ability, are eating regularly and pass a final health screening they will be released back into their natural habitat. They successfully treated and released eight turtles this week into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, transporting them aboard the Duke Marine Lab vessel.
Conservation and species preservation are a big part of the NC Aquariums mission and you can help! Your contributions support the urgent care of these turtles. Visit https://ncaquariumsociety.com/livingtreasures/ to make a donation. Enter promo code: SEA TURTLE.