Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center releases 8 cold-stunned turtles in Cape San Blas
The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center released eight Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.
The sea turtles arrived at the C.A.R.E. Center on Dec. 14 after being stranded off the coast of New England during a mass cold-stun event. The turtles were released at Cape San Blas, as required by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), according to a press release from Gulfarium officials.
Cold stunning occurs when sea turtles are exposed to cold water for an extended period of time. The exposure causes their heart rate to decrease, resulting in the turtle becoming lethargic and often unable to eat.
Cold stunning events in which large numbers of sea turtles become stranded are not unusual in northern areas from November through February, as water temperatures drop below 50 degrees, the release said.
Upon arrival at the C.A.R.E. Center, the veterinary team assessed each turtle, took X-rays and determined the best plan of action. All the turtles received antibiotics during their rehabilitation to aid in their recovery. Once all the turtles were doing well, had gained weight and were able to eat without assistance, they were deemed ready for release by the FWC.
“We are so grateful to have been able to help these sea turtles,” said Terra Throgmorton, the Gulfarium’s medical and stranding coordinator.
“Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world, so anything that we can do to try to conserve this precious species is vital," she said. "We are so thankful for everyone involved who has helped us to provide the best possible veterinary care for these turtles that came to us from the northeastern seaboard of the Atlantic due to a cold-stun event."
If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured or deceased, report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).