Dozens of sea turtles treated for cold-stunning at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island were released Friday, December 22 with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet. The turtles arrived at the station from the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center after treatment for cold-stunning. In all, 41 of the 100 turtles admitted to the STAR Center between December 10 and December 20 were released.
Cold-stunned turtles suffer hypothermia-like symptoms that lower their heart rate and circulation, and are often found stranded on beaches. STAR Center staff treat cold-stunned turtles by rewarming them slowly over the course of a few days. Some turtles will require extended stays until they are fit to swim and fend for themselves, but others were cleared by a veterinary checkup to be released.
“As long as they are swimming well, display no signs of injury, malnutrition or illness and pass a vet exam, they are OK for release,” said STAR Center Manager Amber White.
With the help of the United States Coast Guard Hatteras Inlet, the turtles were transported to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream for release back to the ocean.
Despite this release, many cold-stunned sea turtles remain at the STAR Center, and donations by the community have played a big part in helping rehabilitate them.
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.