The National Marine Life Center is pleased to announce that they have re-opened to sea turtles. Last Thursday the new hospital passed inspection by NOAA representatives and is now officially open to sea turtles in need of rehabilitative care!
The sea turtle ward of the new hospital has two 12 foot diameter, 3,500 gallon pools awaiting their first patients. Each pool can hold up to 10 sea turtles and possible patients include Kemp’s Ridley, Green, Loggerhead, and Hawksbill sea turtles. The Kemp’s Ridley is the most endangered of the sea turtle species but also the most common species to strand on Cape Cod. The Center expects to admit their first patient into the hospital building during the fall cold stunning season, but are capable of admitting a patient earlier if there is a need.
Sea turtles can strand for many reasons including boat strikes, entanglement in fishing line or other marine debris, predator attacks, disease, and cold stunning. Many cold stunned sea turtles wash up on Cape Cod beaches each year, creating a need for the rehabilitation capabilities of the National Marine Life Center. Many of the turtles that stranded last fall/winter were transported as far south as Florida to receive care. The National Marine Life Center is very excited to offer care to these animals right here on Cape Cod.
The National Marine Life Center began admitting patients in 2004, and has successfully rehabilitated and released 20 sea turtles. In 2007 the roof buckled on the old hospital building and it had to be demolished. The center has been working towards opening the doors of the new facility ever since. The NMLC staff and volunteers are very eager to begin admitting turtles that need care into this state of the art facility!