The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is currently treating 10 cold-stunned turtles found stranded this weekend in areas around Hatteras. Eight green sea turtles, one loggerhead and one Kemp’s ridley turtle were rescued after drifting ashore in the Pamlico Sound on Saturday and Sunday by volunteers with the Hatteras Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) and by the National Park Service. After performing an initial assessment, volunteers transported the turtles to NCARI’s Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center, where they are currently being treated for hypothermia-like symptoms associated with cold-stunning.
“They all get a physical, fluids and bloodwork,” said STAR Center Coordinator Rosemary Lucas. “Then we gradually warm them back up, at a rate of about five degrees a day.”
Once the sea turtles display normal swimming ability, are eating regularly and pass a final health screening, they will be released into the Gulf Stream or from beaches in the southern U.S. where water temperatures are warmer.
The STAR Center opened to the public in 2014, and is dedicated to rehabilitating injured or stranded sea turtles and releasing them back to the ocean. Visits to the STAR center and educational interactions with center volunteers are included with regular admission to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
Donations to the STAR Center are always welcome. To donate, please 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 ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island and use the code SEATURTLE2016.