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Rescued cold-stunned turtles now swimming in Florida

Posted at 10:15 AM, Dec 12, 2022

Eight cold-stunned turtles have been transported to Florida after being rescued in the northeast. The turtles arrived late last week at Zoo Miami to continue their rehabilitation.

Last month, hundreds of turtles were treated off the coast of Massacchutes. Cold stunning occurs when turtles become very weak and inactive due to exposure to cold temperatures. They generally become cold-stunned when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

Getting the turtles to Miami is part of an effort called Turtles Fly Too.

While many turtles can swim to warmer water, these turtles become stranded.

Other turtles were flown last week to rehab facilities in South Carolina and Georgia. They will remain there until they are well enough to join the wild population.

According to Zoo Miami, without intervention, many of these turtles would not survive.

The turtles are not transported until they are well enough to travel.

“The Animal Health Team will continue to provide the care initiated by the team at the National Marine Life Center in hopes that the turtles will make a full recovery from their presently compromised conditions and be able to eventually be released back into the wild. Each turtle is suffering from different levels of a variety of issues ranging from dehydration and emaciation to swollen eyes and abrasions,” Zoo Miami said.

The New England Aquarium, which rescued some of the turtles, said some have dehydration and pneumonia, which are common symptoms of cold stunning. The aquarium said this is not an unusual event, as it treated 700 turtles for cold stunning in 2021.