Stunned Sea Turtle Strandings on the Increase

WELLFLEET – Since mid-November, more than 700 cold-stunned sea turtles have washed up on Cape Cod Bay beaches from Dennis to Provincetown.

Volunteers and staff of Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary have recovered the stranded animals – 406 which were found alive, 329 already diseased.

“This is our second busiest season on record,” explained Maureen Duffy, the Sanctuary’s Turtle Team Leader.

“So far the biggest being in 2014 when we had over 1000 turtles strand. Last year we had 420, so we kind of blew past that in mid-November so we’re well ahead of the numbers that we had last year.”

As of this week, Brewster and Eastham remain particular hotspots for strandings and have seen the most rescues. The sanctuary walks the beaches twice a day and transports the turtles to the New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Facility in Quincy.

The Cape’s hook-shaped geography traps the animals in the cooling bay waters. When their body temperatures fall, their systems start to shut down.

The critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle accounts for the majority of strandings. In 2014, the record was set at 1200.

Although the cause is unclear, experts believe one of the reasons is the warming waters in the Gulf of Maine.

About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy