Rescued sea turtles thawing out in Bmore
Some sea turtles rescued from dangerously cold waters off New England are spending the rest of the winter in a safe, warm place at the National Aquarium.
Five endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles have been recuperating in tanks in Baltimore since being flown here Dec. 2 from Boston, the aquarium reports. The animals were rescued by the New England Aquarium, but the staff there has been overwhelmed treating more than 200 sick and weak sea turtles stranded along the East Coast in an epidemic of "cold stunning."
Every year, some sea turtles get caught in frigid waters in the Northeast before they can migrate south, and experience a kind of hypothermia called "cold stunning." The turtles become lethagic, emaciated and vulnerable to illness. This year, rapid temperature drops along the Atlantic coast have led to widespread turtle strandings - and a massive animal rescue effort in response.
The New England Aquarium's rescue facility has been struggling to handle the influx, and in recent weeks has begun transferring turtles once they've been stabilized and are less in danger. The five turtles flown to Baltimore weigh between two and five pounds, the National Aquarium says, and will most likely spend the next six to eight months here recovering their strength before being returned to the wild. Another five are scheduled to be flown in by Civil Air Patrol volunteers early next week.
Jen Dittmar, stranding coordinator for the National Aquarium, said in a statement that the Baltimore facility is helping deal with the cold-stunning crisis by nursing some back to health so the New England veterinarians can focus on the animals in critical condition.
"We are thrilled that we can do our part in giving these turtles a chance at survival," Dittmar said.
To read the National Aquarium's blog post about its rare patients, go here.
(Kemp's ridley getting a checkup. Photo courtesy National Aquarium)