First Live Sea Turtle of Season Strands on Rock Harbor Beach

turtle-strandORLEANS – The first cold-stunned sea turtle of the season was found stranded on Rock Harbor Beach in Orleans Wednesday afternoon.

Officials with the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary found the animal in good condition. The green sea turtle was taken to the New England Aquarium’s Animal Care facility in Quincy for rehabilitation.

Persistent northwest winds often means sea turtle strandings in Orleans and Eastham at this time of year. The winds have been predominantly out of the northwest this week.

“Typically, we don’t see sea turtles strand until the water is closer to 50 degrees,’ said Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary turtle researcher Karen Dourdeville. “But three days of strong northwest winds and cool nighttime temperatures may have combined to chill water close to shore to cause cold-stunning.”

More than 600 sea turtles washed up cold-stunned on Cape Cod beaches last year. That was down from a record 1,200 in 2014.

A Kemp’s ridley turtle was found dead on South Sunken Meadow Beach in Eastham Tuesday. The Kemp’s ridley is a critically endangered species.

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