BUXTON, N.C. (WAVY) — The search is on to help more cold-stunned sea turtles after dozens were found on Hatteras Island in the past 24 hours.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore says about 95 green and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were found Tuesday on the sound side of Hatteras Island between Buxton and Hatteras, with approximately 35 found on Cape Hatteras National Seashore property.
Seashore officials say all of the turtles were taken to the STAR Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation, with many expected to be released by the end of the week.
10 more sea turtles were also found Wednesday morning as Seashore workers and volunteers searched the area.
Cold stunning is a hypothermia-like condition in turtles that happens when water temperatures drop quickly to about 55 degrees and below, a common occurrence in the winter on the sound side of the Outer Banks.
If the turtles can’t swim to warmer waters they can become immobile and wash ashore.
The aquarium will gradually warm the turtles up and make sure they pass a swim test before releasing them back into the wild.
If you spot a cold-stunned turtle, call the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Stranding Hotline at 252-216-6892.