WATCH: Rescued MA Sea Turtles Fly South for Rehabilitation

WELLFLEET – With turtle stranding season underway on Cape Cod, 100 endangered sea turtles were recently flown from Massachusetts to rehabilitation facilities in Mississippi and Florida. 

The Kemp’s Ridley turtles were transported from the New England Aquarium and the National Marine Life Center on a flight headed to the southern U.S. on Tuesday, December 13. 

The aquarium said that over 500 turtles have washed ashore on Cape Cod beaches so far this stranding season

Researchers have predicted that by 2031 the strandings will bring thousands of sea turtles onto the Cape each year,, highlighting the need for several groups to work together to help them.

Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary crews locate the turtles on local beaches after quickly shifting water temperatures leave them hypothermic and vulnerable to injuries.

“They cannot escape boat propellers, predators, or scavengers. We have seen a lot of those injuries this season,” NMLC Director of Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation Lisa Becker said. 

Officials with NOAA Fisheries determine what rehab centers can accept the stabilized turtles while nonprofit Turtles Fly Too help transport the creatures to warmer climates.

If people find a stranded turtle on a beach in the winter, experts say to move it above the high tide line, cover it with seaweed, and contact the Sanctuary’s hotline at 508-349-2615 x6104.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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