***You can donate to the STAR Center or purchase supplies directly to assist the cold-stunned sea turtles! STAR Center has launched an Amazon.com wish list where donors can buy specific needed items for the center. Anyone wanting to donate to the STAR Center can mail or hand deliver a check with “STAR” or “Sea Turtle” in the subject line to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, 374 Airport Road, P.O. Box 967, Manteo NC, 27954 or donate online and use the promotion code STAR Center. Thank you!***
MANTEO - Cold-stunned sea turtles continued to arrive for treatment at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island throughout the weekend following last week’s drop in water temperatures. As of Monday morning, 96 sea turtles had been admitted to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. Meanwhile, donations to the STAR Center through the NC Aquarium Society have exceeded $3,100 since Friday and generous donors have purchased $850 in supplies from the STAR Center’s Amazon.com wish list.
“We are extremely thankful for everyone’s help,” said NCARI Director Maylon White. “Cold-stun season increases the demand for resources, supplies and energy, and these kinds of donations make a big difference.”
Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, 30 turtles were recovered on beaches around Hatteras and transported to NCARI, adding to the more than 60 that had arrived by Friday evening. The STAR Center is utilizing extra space to house the turtles during their recovery: the public walkway of the STAR Center is lined with bins containing recovering turtles, as is the guest bathrooms near the Aquarium admission offices. Since the entire STAR Center is being used as a turtle recovery area, public access to the turtle hospital is temporarily closed. Extra staff have also been brought in to assist in moving turtles from space to space as they warm up. Gradually rewarming cold-stunned turtles is crucial to their recovery, and involves several spaces heated to different temperatures.
Fortunately, many of the turtles are not experiencing any of the residual health issues or malnourishment sometimes associated with cold-stunning, and are displaying good swimming ability as soon as they are back to their ideal temperature. That means as many as 20 turtles may be going back to sea as early as this week via an off-shore boat release out of Morehead City.
NCARI continues to welcome and appreciate donations to help the cold-stunned sea turtle recovery effort. Find out how to donate items from the Amazon.com wish list online at ncaquariums.com. Anyone wanting to donate to the STAR Center can mail or hand deliver a check with “STAR” or “Sea Turtle” in the subject line to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, 374 Airport Road, P.O. Box 967, Manteo NC, 27954 or donate online at ncaquariumsociety.com/livingtreasures and use the promo code STAR Center.
MANTEO - Sea turtles impacted by the recent drop in water temperature arrived at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island this week and are being treated in the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. As of Thursday, 20 cold-stunned sea turtles had been admitted to the STAR center, bringing the total to 26 so far this season, and at least 10 more were in transit to the Aquarium.
Cold-stunning occurs when water temperatures drop rapidly before sea turtles have a chance to make their way back to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. Turtles impacted by cold-stunning experience hypothermia-like symptoms and are often found stranded on beaches up and down the Outer Banks. All 20 sea turtles were recovered in Hatteras and were brought to a Buxton staging facility where they underwent initial evaluation before being transported to NCARI.
“Cold-stun season is a busy time for us, but we start preparing early to be ready for the turtles,” said STAR Center Manager Amber White. “Thanks to the help of STAR Center techs, volunteers and other Aquarium staff, the intake process has gone very smoothly.”
During cold-stun events, volunteers from the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) and National Park Service staff are crucial in locating and transporting stranded turtles.
On arrival at the STAR Center, cold-stunned sea turtles go through an initial intake process where staff check their responsiveness, record their vital signs, perform bloodwork, check for any trauma and give them fluids. The rehabilitation process involves gradually warming the turtles at a rate of about five degrees a day.
“So far, there have been no significant injuries or illnesses, and they are all in fairly good body condition which is a great sign,” White said.
Once the sea turtles display normal swimming ability, are eating regularly and pass a final health screening, they will be released back into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream or from beaches in the southern U.S. where water temperatures are warmer.
The influx of cold-stun turtles creates an increased need for special supplies, and this year the STAR Center has launched an Amazon.com wish list where donors can buy specific needed items for the center. Anyone wanting to donate to the STAR Center can mail or hand deliver a check with “STAR” or “Sea Turtle” in the subject line to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, 374 Airport Road, P.O. Box 967, Manteo NC, 27954 or donate online and use the promotion code STAR Center.