52 sea turtles in New England suffering from hypothermia have been transported to a rehabilitation center in Florida.

Fifty-two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, an endangered species, are being treated for “cold stun” at four Florida rehabilitation centers. They were flown on a private plane from the New England Aquarium in Massachusetts.

According to a press release, officials transported 16 turtles to Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Tuesday after their arrival in Tampa. These turtles were suffering from cold stun, a result of the freezing temperatures in New England waters.

The rest of the turtles were transported to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, and Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter.

Shelly Marquardt, a veterinarian at the Clearwater facility, stated that this is a common event every winter and they have been involved in caring for these turtles since 2016. She also mentioned that their rehabilitation efforts have a positive impact on the preservation of this endangered species and they are honored to be a part of the conservation work.

Sea turtles are ectothermic reptiles and can regulate their body temperature based on their environment. When they are in cold water for a long time, their circulation slows down and they are not able to swim or perform normal functions.

The turtles will undergo rehabilitation at the aquarium, where visitors are invited to observe their progress. Eventually, the turtles will be released back into their natural environment.

This year, Florida experienced a historic high in the number of sea turtle nests. According to early state data, there were over 133,840 nests for loggerhead turtles, surpassing the previous record set in 2016. The trend also applies to green turtles, with an estimated minimum of 76,500 nests, significantly surpassing the previous record set in 2017.

The number of sea turtle nests has been high in South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, but not all have broken records like Florida.

Source: wral.com