Manteo, N.C. - The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island received 349 cold-stunned sea turtles, according to a spokesperson from the aquarium.
Officials with the aquarium say the sudden arrival of winter weather made the turtles unable to swim due to the hypothermia-like response.
Nearly 450 turtles have been taken in by three aquariums across North Carolina.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is currently closed to the public. The sea turtles are staying warm in every spot imaginable, including the bathrooms.
The turtles were brought to the Roanoke Island aquarium at the end of the day on Wednesday. One of the turtles died during transport to the aquarium, leaving 348 turtles remaining.
91 turtles were expected to be loaded onto a truck and taken to Florida at some point.
Aquarium staff and veterinary teams are performing regular health checks on the turtles and will place a microchip tag in each one before they release them.
About 200 of the turtles will be transported south for a beach release on January 8. The rest of the turtles will remain in the care of the three aquariums and the Turtle Hospital until they’re cleared for release, which could take a while.
Buster Nunemaker, the Public Relations Coordinator for the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island made a Facebook about the turtles:
I love this place I was born and raised in for the past 67 years! I have felt many moments of emotion from the outpouring of giving and offers of more to help the Aquarium staffs manage the recent sea turtle cold-stunning event. It just proves to me, you are my friends and you know when I ask you for help, I can count on all of you. At this point we are good with towels and totes. From far and near, you responded, I will forever be grateful! God Bless you to all the individuals and business that gave so much. We live in a great place.
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