First Turtle Of The Season Strands On Cape Cod

October TurtleBARNSTABLE – Sea turtle stranding season on Cape Cod is officially underway.

The first cold-stunned turtle of the year was discovered on Sandy Neck in Barnstable early yesterday afternoon. A town natural resources officer found the four-pound Kemp’s Ridley while on routine patrol and called in volunteers from Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, who were able to rescue the animal.

“It is in pretty good shape,” said Linda Lory, a senior rescue biologist with the New England Aquarium. “A little thin, obviously cold but with no visable trauma. Its body temperature was 53.9 degrees. After a check-up, we swam it briefly and put it in our ICU to slowly re-warm”

The animal will be treated at the aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy.

This is considered an early rescue for the region, with experts saying the first week of November is often the beginning of the turtle stranding season on Cape Cod. 2014 was a record year for strandings in the area, with the Aquarium treating 733 turtles. Mass Audubon recovered more than 1,250 live and dead turtles last year.

In an average year, about 90 live turtles are rescued on Cape Cod each November and December.

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