Last week, the Associated Press reported that 193 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that stranded near Cape Cod will be shipped to Florida.
These turtles have arrived and are in rehabilitation in seven facilities across Florida.
Valley News reported
The nearly two dozen veterinarians, biologists, drivers and government officials, coordinated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, huddled in the rain waiting. As soon as the plane’s engines shut down, they went to work, counting out turtle numbers as boxes were loaded into vans.
Within 10 minutes, the first van left for a drive to an aquarium in the Keys. In all, seven aquariums from South to North Florida took some of the reptiles for rehabilitation. SeaWorld took 72 of them.
Turtles have also gone to other states recently, including 50 taken to North Carolina, 31 to Georgia, 20 to South Carolina and 14 to Pennsylvania.
The Florida turtles are likely to be released into the Gulf of Mexico, which is probably the survivors’ birth waters. More than 90 percent of nesting occurs along beaches of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Cristy Barrett, a senior biologist at the Aquarium, says: “The point is to keep the species alive. When you lose that many turtles, you lose a lot of scientific diversity. It’s really important to save every single life that we can.” Now, Barrett and her co-workers are keeping watch over the 10 turtles they have under their care in Tampa, providing them with liquids, keeping them lubricated and tending to their injuries. The turtles will be there for at least another year, in order to ensure their survival.
The Turtle Hospital, a Keys-based facility in Marathon, is caring for 30 of the sea turtle patients according to CBS Miami.
Hospital officials said Wednesday that each cold-stunned turtle had a full physical examination, X-rays, a swimming test and was administered intravenous fluids and Vitamin D. Hospital staff is endeavoring to slowly raise the reptiles’ body temperatures with the goal of releasing them once they are deemed healthy enough to return to the wild.
Some of the turtles have secondary issues including head trauma and pneumonia.
My Panhandle reports that Gulf World Marine Park will be caring for 50 of the turtles.
Three other Florida facilities, including Sarasota’s Mote Marine Aquarium, are caring for the remaining 31 turtles.
Kemp’s Ridley turtles are the smallest species of marine turtle in the world. They average about 2 ft. and 100 pounds in adulthood. To learn more, visit the description at NOAA Fisheries.