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2020 Cold Stun Season at Gulf World Marine Institute – Updates!

The cold-stunned sea turtle season has already started off strong in the New England area. Juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, along with a few other species, are washing up along Cape Cod beaches in large numbers.

Sea turtles are reptiles whose body temperature closely matches the temperature of their environment. Sea turtles can become cold-stunned (or shocked) when the temperatures in shallows bays and estuaries drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These animals are then admitted for medical treatment. Due to the large number of stranded turtles, the New England facilities reach out to other rehabilitation facilities for help. The strategy is to relocate as many animals as possible. This helps to relieve the immediate response area and create vacancies for additional incoming sea turtles. Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) participates in these efforts, and has begun receiving turtles! In the upcoming weeks (sometimes months), GWMI will continue treating these animals until they are ready for release. Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) gives GWMI the green light for releases! Below this introduction, you will find information about the sea turtles GWMI has received.

Thank you to Turtles Fly Too for coordinating the flights and all of the pilots for generously donating their time for this mission. We would also like to thank Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries, New England Aquarium, National Marine Life Center, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and all volunteers that are working together to make this possible.


Flight 1: 17 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles

Arrived November 14th from the New England Aquarium facility in Quincy, Massachusetts

ID Numbers: 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 150


Flight 2: 22 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles

Arrived November 21st from the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

ID Numbers: 047, 048, 049, 050, 058, 059, 060, 061, 066, 071, 072, 073, 074, 083, 085, 086, 089, 092, 093, 095, 099, 100


Media Coverage:
Gulf World welcomes seventeen new sea turtles
Cold stunned sea turtles arrive at Gulf World for rehabilitation
22 more cold-stunned sea turtles arrive in Panama City Beach