Coast Guard Auxiliary Members Assist in Transport of Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles from Cape Cod

Stranded Turtle 7-17HYANNIS – The Coast Guard Auxiliary is taking part in a mission to rescue endangered Kemp’s Ridley Turtles that are cold-stunned from the shores of Cape Cod.

The sea turtles come up to northeast waters in the summer and become trapped in Cape Cod Bay as the water temperature drops in the fall.

The drop in water temperatures causes the turtles to have a hypothermic reaction with slowed breathing and heart rates, and pneumonia.

“It is extremely helpful to the turtle population as well as the rehabilitation organizations trying to manage this critical event,” said Kate Sampson, a turtle stranding and disentanglement coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. “Larger turtles are stranding now and creating a crisis of space at the New England Aquarium.”

A Coast Guard Auxiliary flight crew from the 1st District Southern Region, flying out of Marshfield Airport, plan to fly around 25 of the turtles to Orlando, Florida, where they can be released into warmer weather.

During transport, the turtles will be loaded into the airplane in special boxes with insulation to keep them warm.

While in flight, the turtles have to be kept between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We’re honored to work with our partners at NOAA and the New England Aquarium to ensure these turtles arrive safely in Florida,” said Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot Steve Trupkin.

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