Twenty Kemp’s ridley sea turtles have been flown to Florida after being rescued from the freezing coastal waters of Cape Cod Ba. The critically endangered baby Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were transferred from New England to the warm Florida Keys, where they would be able to recuperate at the Marathon Turtle Hospital.
According to Bette Zirkelbach, the hospital’s manager, every single one of the turtles has been diagnosed with “cold-stunning,” a hypothermic reaction that occurs when sea turtles are exposed to cold water for a lengthy period of time. This may cause them to rise to the surface, where they will be subjected to much colder temperatures and drown.
It has been shown that a water temperature threshold of 8–10 degrees Celsius is connected with mass turtle stunning episodes. Following the occurrence of cold-stunning, there is just a very brief window of time during which sea turtles may be successfully saved.
“These sea turtles are being treated at the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys in order to warm up, much in the same way that vacationers go to the Keys in order to warm up. It is critical that we support these baby turtles in their survival since the Kemps ridley is the most critically endangered marine turtle in the world,” added Zirkelbach.
Arrangements for transportation to Marathon International Airport in Florida were made possible through an alliance with Turtles Fly Too, a non-profit organization that recruits general aviation pilots who donate their aircraft and fuel, as well as their own time, to provide emergency transportation for rescued sea turtles in distress.
In order to evaluate their in-water respiration and swim strength, staff workers issued each turtle a unique number when they arrived at the hospital. They also photographed them and documented their weight and swimming ability in a small pool, where they were later weighed and measured again.
Once healed from their injuries, according to Zirkelbach, the turtles will most likely be released off the central Florida east coast, around Cape Canaveral.
In the meantime, a diet of varied seafood and rehabilitation in water tanks heated to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit are planned for the turtles at the Turtle Hospital during the next two months. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and vitamins will be administered throughout their treatment (24 degrees Celsius).