QUINCY, MASS. (WHDH) - The New England Aquarium will be rehabilitating more than 60 sea turtles as the annual stranding season comes to an end this month.
The aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy cared for more than 500 live sea turtles that had stranded on Cape Cod over the course of the season from November into January.
While many stabilized turtles were transferred to secondary rehabilitation facilities, 64 of the turtles are remaining in Quincy to undergo long-term treatment for life-threatening medical conditions, including pneumonia, sepsis, bone infection, and dehydration.
“This is always an exciting time for us, focusing our efforts on turtles that will complete their full rehabilitation process here in Quincy.” Adam Kennedy, Director of Rescue and Rehabilitation,” said in a statement. “This is when we really get to know and understand the various medical conditions of the individual turtles receiving care at our Sea Turtle Hospital, a process that can take several months before these turtles can be released back into their ocean home,”
Aquarium staff, volunteers, and interns have a tradition of naming the turtles receiving months-long care. This year’s naming theme is pasta shapes, with Fusilli, Orzo, and Lasagna among the group. Others inspired by noodle shapes from around the world include Udon, Couscous, and Soba.
Most turtles will complete their rehabilitation within eight months and return to the ocean waters south of Cape Cod in the summertime.
Each year, hundreds of cold-stunned sea turtles wash up on the beaches of Cape Cod. Because of the rapidly changing water temperature and wind pattern, many turtles cannot escape the hook-like area of Cape Cod Bay before becoming hypothermic.
The number of annual cold-stunned sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts varies from year to yea, but has steadily increased from around 50 in 2000 to more than 800 in 2022, according to the New England Aquarium. Researchers have predicted through statistical modeling that by 2031, these events will bring thousands of sea turtles to our shores annually.
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