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December 16, 2010

DNR transports 14 cold stunned marine turtles to S.C. Aquarium

The recent cold weather quickly dropped coastal water temperatures and stunned more than 100 sea turtles as they washed ashore on North Carolina beaches in the past week.

Conservation programs in that state asked the S.C. Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program in Charleston for help and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) transported 14 marine turtles on Monday, Dec. 13. Five were then moved to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Tuesday. The nine others, seven green sea turtles and two Kemp's Ridley turtles, will remain in Charleston. There are now 18 turtles in the hospital, which is a record patient count.

Rehabilitation typically takes seven to eight months.

See video from the Aquarium YouTube site on the rescue.

"In addition to highlighting the strong partnership between the Aquarium and DNR that now benefits many species statewide," said South Carolina Sea Turtle Coordinator DuBose Griffin, "this effort also demonstrates the continued cooperation between neighboring state agencies and conservation organizations."

Long-term exposure to very cold water causes sea turtles to suffer decreased heart rates, decreased circulation and lethargy much like hypothermia in humans. Shock, pneumonia and death can follow. Most sea turtles migrate to warmer waters around the end of October.

If you spot an injured sea turtle on the water, the beach or in the marsh, call 1-800-922-5431 to report it. Get more information on the DNR Marine Turtle Conservation Program and the S.C. Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

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