The below average cold temperatures are causing issues for sea turtles, which depend on warm waters to survive.
The Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Protection Program is encouraging people to contact them if they see a sea turtle on land.
During cold temperatures, the sea creatures are more likely to become hypothermic or cold-stunned.
Dale Baquer with the protection program said if seen out of the water they’re in distress and can die.
“If they strand themselves they need help,” said Baquer. “If you were to throw them back into the ocean, they’ll drown.”
The turtles can look like they’re dead, but it doesn’t mean they are. Whether the turtle is alive or dead, the programs asks you contact them to see what they can do.
“So we like to get out there as soon as we can, have our people who are trained check them and then if they are alive, we will take them to Morehead City,” said Baquer.
To make sure it is a sea turtle, Baquer said to check for flippers instead of claws.
The animal is protected by the state. If you happen to come across one, report it, and the protection program will make sure it is nursed back to health.
You can contact Baquer at 252-646-8292.