52 “Cold-Stunned” Sea Turtles Arrive in Florida for Rehab
Fifty two endangered sea turtles were privately flown to Florida this week after suffering from a “cold stun” in New England. The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are locals at the New England Aquarium, but are rehabbing at four different Florida facilities across the Sunshine State.
According to officials, on December 5th, these turtles touched down in Tampa with 16 sent to Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter, and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota are also rehabbing groups of these endangered turtles.
Shelly Marquardt, a veterinarian for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, said, “This is a regular occurrence each winter and we’ve participated in the continued care of these turtles since 2016. “We know that their time in rehabilitation here makes a difference for the future of this endangered species, and we are proud to be able to contribute to their conservation efforts.”
While the turtles are rehabbing at the aquarium, visitors will be able to watch their road to recovery. The turtles will be sent to their natural habitat once they are back in action.
Why do sea turtles suffer from “cold stun”?
Naturally, sea turtles are cold blooded reptiles. They adapt and change to the different temperatures in their surroundings. This time of year, New England has very cold and icy water temperatures which means these turtles cannot function or swim properly.
According to Aqua.org, many sea turtles in the same geographical area experience this phenomena at the same time when the air and water temperatures drop quickly. Some of the most common places for the cold stun are in Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Mosquito and Indian River Lagoon in Florida, and bays in Texas. If you’re interested in seeing these endangered sea turtles in Clearwater, you can get tickets on their website for daily admission. Tickets start at $35.95 for adults 13+ and children ages 3-12 are $26.95.