Second Biggest Year for Cold-Stunned Turtle Beaching, Official Says

COURTESY OF THE NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

COURTESY OF THE NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

WELLFLEET – According to the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Cold-Stunned Field Coordinator Mike Sprague, 525 cold-stunned sea turtles have washed ashore from Cape Cod Bay this year, with over 20 of those since the New Year began.

Sprague said seeing cold-stunned turtles still showing up this late is atypical.

“This was the warmest summer on record in the Gulf of Maine, so we just think that because the waters are warmer, they’ve been able to get up here sooner and stay here longer in the summer,” he said.

The trouble starts when summer ends and the turtles in Cape Cod Bay try to swim south, only to find Cape Cod topography in their way.

Sprague said that around 60 percent of the turtles who have come ashore since the fall were alive and were collected for treatment, usually at the New England Aquarium.

The majority of the turtles that strand here are endangered Kemp’s ridleys. But Sprague said some larger loggerheads showed up Monday morning.

Regardless of species, a larger amount are washing ashore still alive. According to Sprague, most if not all of the turtles which showed up at this time last year were deceased.

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