Date: November 2019
Location: Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts
Circumstances: cold stunned
Gulf World Marine Institute received 30 cold stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on Monday, November 25th. These turtles were flown from the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) facility in Quincy, MA to Panama City Beach. Sea turtles are reptiles, which means their body temperature closely matches the temperature of their environment. During cold snaps, sea turtles can become cold stunned (or shocked) when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Because temperatures drop more easily in shallow water, volunteers usually find these turtles in shallow bays and estuaries. Due to the large number of stranded turtles, the New England Aquarium reached out to other members of the stranding network for assistance. Gulf World was happy to step up and help. The staff at GWMI will continue to rehabilitate these turtles until they are cleared for release!
Thomas Jefferson is the final patient from this group of sea turtles. We continue to monitor his diet and swimming abilities in the hope that he will be released soon!
Thank you to Turtles Fly Too for coordinating the flight and Pilots Ken and Kristi Andrews 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, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and all volunteers that are working together to make this possible.