The fruits of The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program labor were realized with the release of five rehabbed sea turtles including two Kemp’s Ridley and three greens in North Ormond Beach. After months of specialized and compassionate care, the release was a triumphant celebration for turtle caretakers; especially during what has been a record-setting year for sea turtle stranding throughout the United States.

Rescued from a large cold-stunned event off the coast of New England, the Kemp’s were subsequently flown by Turtles Fly Too, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together general aviation and sea turtle conservation, for long-term care at The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

Cold-stunning occurs when cold-blooded animals, like sea turtles, are exposed to unusually cold water and/or air temperatures for an extended period of time; causing a hypothermic reaction that may include a lower heart rate, decreased circulation, lethargy, secondary infections including pneumonia and if left untreated, death.

The two Kemp’s received extended care for persistent symptoms of pneumonia before being released into the open ocean of the Atlantic.

While large stunning events are happening in other parts of the country, turtles in our own backyard are also affected by cold waters and changing conditions; making the efforts of The Florida Aquarium to not only to care for these endangered animals, but also to increase public awareness of the things that can be done to protect the natural environment, even more critical.

The three green sea turtles faced a similar fate off the East Coast of Florida in Volusia County. Rescued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the turtles arrived at The Florida Aquarium on March 4. A duo was treated for pneumonia and other symptoms of cold-stunning. An additional green turtle was received as part of a record-setting date of March 23 when the team at The Florida Aquarium admitted 17 rescued turtles, the largest number the facility had ever received.

Text and photos courtesy The Florida Aquarium.

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