January 8, 2016

Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Find Help in OBX

Turtles of the Outer Banks
Turtles of the find help

Every once in a while an event happens that reminds us how amazing the people who live on the are. That's the case with a recent spate of cold-stunned sea turtles.

Over the past week, volunteers rescued more than 340 turtles from the beaches of . Mostly green turtles, with a few Kemps Ridleys and loggerheads in the mix. This is an unprecedented event for .

According to experts in the field, the most likely cause was an abnormally warm December with plummeting temperatures earlier this week.

The turtles will die unless they recieve immediate care. That's where the can-do and volunteer spirit of the Outer Banks has come in to play.

Volunteers with N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) and National Park Service employees have been combing the looking for turtles.

The turtles are taken to Cape Hatteras Secondary School. Then transported to the STAR Center at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. The STAR Center is a sea turtle rehab facility.

But no one has ever seen anything like this. Everywhere you look at the center, cold-stunned turtles fill buckets and bins while regaining their strength. Volunteers are constantly walking among the turtles, cleaning the water, feeding them and making sure they are recovering.

One of the most amazing facts is that only six have been lost so far.

The first batch of 85 has already traveled to to be released in warm waters. Even that took a huge cooperative effort. From Fish and supplying a truck for transportation to the permits required from every state along the route. According to the folks at the Aquarium, the cooperation from all agencies has been absolutely outstanding.

The next batch of 85 turtles should be at the Fort Macon, NC Coast Guard Station by Monday. The Coast Guard has agreed to take the turtles to the Gulf Stream to release them.

Subscribe to the blog

Get the latest updates from Kitty Hawk