Seven of the eleven endangered sea turtles currently in rehabilitation at the National Marine Life Center will be released near Jacksonville, Florida on Monday morning, April 14. Each of the turtles stranded last November on Cape Cod suffering from cold stunning, which is a severe form of hypothermia.
The turtles were all rescued by Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in November, 2013 and underwent one to three weeks of emergency care at the New England Aquarium. They have been in rehabilitation at NMLC for the past five months.
Rehabilitation takes a lot of time, effort, and money. For the first several weeks, each turtle required daily fluid therapy and regular antibiotic injections. That’s in addition to twice daily feeding, vitamins and lots and lots of cleaning. We are grateful to our dedicated volunteers who worked long hours to care for these endangered animals. And, we are grateful for our generous donors who helped fund the rehabilitation.
Animal care staff and volunteers will prepare the turtles for transport early Sunday morning, before leaving for the approximately 24-hour drive south. The animal care team will apply a water-based ointment to the turtles’ skin and shells, and place them in plastic crates padded with towels.
We are releasing the turtles in Florida because the water is not yet warm enough in New England. Although it’s a long drive, it’s worth the effort. The animals are ready to be released, and we don’t want to keep them any longer than necessary. We look forward to seeing them go back to their ocean home!
To help with transport costs, we’re asking for donations of gas cards and pre-paid credit cards. To donate, call 508-743-9888, stop by 120 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, or visit www.nmlc.org. You can follow the transport and release on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NationalMarineLifeCenter.