MANTEO, N.C. – Winter is finally here, and sea turtles are beginning to feel it.
A drop in Temperatures on Thursday and Friday brought in more cold-stunned sea turtles for treatment at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
As of noon Saturday, 96 turtles had been transported from the Buxton staging site operated by the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) to the aquarium’s Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. Aquarium officials anticipate more turtles to arrive in the next few days.
The STAR Center admitted 12 sea turtles in early December due to cold-stunning.
Cold-stunning is a condition similar to hypothermia and is caused by dropping water temperatures. The condition renders the turtles unable to swim properly.
The majority of the turtles that have been arriving at the aquarium are green sea turtles, but staff say a few loggerheads have arrived as well.
The recovery process begins by gradually warming the turtles back up over the course of a few days. To make sure there is room for the new patients, the STAR Center will be closed to the public beginning Sunday, December 22.
“As we move the turtles around into warmer areas, we’ll need the public spaces in the STAR Center to make them all as comfortable as we can,” said Assistant Husbandry Curator Elizabeth Huber. “It also gives staff and volunteers room to work and check up on our patients.”
Additional supplies are needed in anticipation of more turtles arriving for treatment. If you’d like to help, you can purchase the items from the STAR Center’s Amazon wish list here.