Monday, December 7, 2009

Record number of turtles strand on beaches

WELLFLEET --120709-- Mass. Audubon's Michelle Stantinal takes the measurements of this green turtle that was found cold stunned on a local beach. A record number of cold stunned turtles have been rescued off the beaches over the past couple of days.

WELLFLEET - As a cold set in overnight, six more endangered sea turtles were rescued off Cape Cod Bay beaches early today bringing the total from Sunday to 25 - one of the largest, single-day totals ever, according to Massachusetts Audubon Society Wellfleet sanctuary director Robert Prescott.

Many of the 19 turtles will be transported to Boston this morning to join around 90 already being rehabilitated at the New England Aquarium.

These turtles, which include the endangered Kemps Ridley and green sea turtles, should already be headed back to warmer southern waters on their annual migration route, but they sometimes get caught by a change in the water and air temperature as the fall heads into winter.

Their metabolisms shut down and winds push them up onto beaches where wind chill and dehydration can prove fatal.

Audubon staff and volunteers patrol beaches regularly when winds blow onshore and water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

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