This year, volunteers with the Audubon Society of Massachusetts head out to Cape Cod beaches where hundreds of sea turtles get stranded yearly. 120 Kemp’s ridley turtles were saved from Cape Cod beaches thanks to the volunteers’ effort.
Marine biologists assisted the volunteers in their efforts to save the stranded Kemp’s ridley turtles, one of the rarest species of sea turtles and critically endangered. The cold water of Cape Cod Bay pushes the sea turtles to the shore each year. Although this year the number of turtles stranded on the beaches was less than that of other years, the volunteers and marine biologists managed to save 120 of them.
The saving action of the Audubon Society extended over the weekend. Reports of stranded Kemp’s ridley turtles came in a 12-hour timespan. The 120 saved sea turtles represented the 60 percent of the turtles found alive. Since the strandings began in early November, over 200 sea turtles have been saved. The number may seem small compared to last year’s record 1,200 savings. Nonetheless, for a critically endangered species, any turtles that is saved makes a difference.
Throughout summer, sea turtles swim in the warm waters where food is plenty. As the warm season is drawing to an end, they hitch a ride with the warm currents driving them to Florida for winter. With the temperature drop and the cooling waters, some of the sea turtles are left behind and remain stranded on Cape Cod beaches.
As 120 Kemp’s ridley turtles were saved from Cape Cod beaches over the weekend, the volunteers with the Audubon Society prepared shelters for them. For the time being, the sea turtles will spend some time in their cardboard shelters, nicely lined with warm towels. The plan is to transport them at the New England Aquarium where they will receive medical care and will be rehabilitated. Further, the sea turtles will join their families in Florida as their condition improves.
Most of the saved Kemp’s ridley turtles were found stranded on the following Cape Cod beaches: Brewster, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro.
Typically, the season for stranded sea turtles is marked by Thanksgiving. However, due to higher temperatures this year, the warm currents lasted for longer and less sea turtles got stranded. According to the marine biologists overseeing the rescuing operations, warming temperatures also explains the low numbers.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia