Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cold front leaves many sea turtles in poor health

A major cold front that drops coastal water temperatures is big trouble for sea turtles that have yet to migrate to warmer waters. Their cold-blooded bodies can't take the temperature drop and they become lethargic and immunosupressed. The lucky ones to survive a cold-stunning event can suffer from hypothermia, pneumonia, skin and shell lesions and secondary infections.

Last year it happened during Thanksgiving week and this year, the call came at Christmas. Sea turtles stranding on North Carolina beaches daily and the folks from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission scrambling to get them all placed. The Karen Beasley Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is so full that they had turtles in the bathrooms. The three NC aquariums all do their part. Yet more turtles keep coming.

On December 28, as DuBose Griffin from the SC Department of Natural Resources drove to the NC border to take 9 sea turtles off the hands of Wendy Cluse, Sea Turtle Rescue staff at the South Carolina Aquarium scrambled to make some room in the already full hospital. Upon arrival, the turtles received subcutaneous fluids, eye ointment and a thin coat of petroleum jelly to help with hydration. 3 of the 9 were placed in shallow pools that will be their home for their rehabilitation and the other 6 spent the night in their transport bins to continue their journey the next morning to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

Learn more about the 3 newest patients, Cluse, Dare and Frisco, by going to the hospital page and clicking on each individual case. These will be periodically updated. There is also a great article from the Post and Courier at and video from ABC News 4 at Be sure to check them out!

Thank you to all involved in rescuing all of the sea turtles involved in this cold-stunning event and I wish all the facilities treating these ill animals the best. Most of all, I want to thank you, the public, for your commitment to us, as we cannot do what this work without your help. There are many wonderful ways to support - book a hospital tour to visit the patients, become a stranded turtle adoptive parent, send a tax deductible donation, spread the word about the work we are doing and forward this blog link to your friends!

Hope you all have a blessed new year!