Turtles from Boston going through cold-stunned therapy at NC aquarium

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – N.C. Aquarium of Pine Knoll Shores is currently rehabilitating 12 juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from Boston. The turtles were cold-stunned due to a quick change of water temperature.

Michele Lamping says that the turtles will get down to a 50-degree body temperature due to the water, and with rehabilitation, they will get back up to a 70-degree body temperature.

Lamping said when turtles are cold-stunned, they lose immobility and get pushed wherever the waves push them. She said in rehabilitation, they will be tested for things like blood pressure and heart rate, as well as given medicines and fluids for treatment.

Lamping said it’s important that the turtles eat because a lot of them are malnourished because of immobility. She also said since Thanksgiving, the New England area has had around 100 turtles found cold-stunned along the coast and brought to rehabilitation centers.

“Yesterday, about half of them were already eating, which is great, so it’s putting that weight back on because a lot of them were super thin. They may have gone weeks without eating at this point before they became immobile, stranded, and then found,” Lamping said.

Lamping says volunteers flew the turtles to North Carolina from Massachusetts for treatment.

She says the aquarium helps cold-stunned turtles up north and then they treat the North Carolina turtles, where the water doesn’t drop as fast. But cold-stunned North Carolina turtles are already being spotted around the coast.

Lamping says the turtles will be released again off the North Carolina coast hopefully around January.

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