The journey of a rescued sea turtle from Cape Cod to Quincy

This time of year, volunteers up and down Cape Cod visit blustery beaches in search of stranded sea turtles. Day or night, sunny or stormy, volunteers stroll the wrack line just after a high tide to look for cold-stunned sea turtles. This is how a rescued sea turtle starts its road to recovery.

Rescued green sea turtle at the Aquarium's Animal Care Center

The journey of this rescued sea turtle started on a chilly beach on Cape Cod. The Massachusetts Audubon Society of Wellfleet Bay organizes fleets of volunteers to comb the beaches in search of hypothermic turtles—too weak and too late to migrate south to warmer waters. If left on the beach, they would likely die of hypothermia.

Beach walkers scan the wrack line for turtles tossed up on the beach by winds and waves

Volunteers must carefully pick through detritus like this for sea turtles tangled in the sea grasses

Bundling up for a walk on the beach

If a turtle is found on the beach, the volunteers carefully pluck the animal from the sand or sea grass and transport it to Mass. Audubon in a cardboard box padded with towels.

Next stop: Mass. Audubon

Entrance to Mass. Audubon at Wellfleet Bay 

Turtle recovery efforts are coordinated by the team here at Mass. Audubon at Wellfleet Bay

Experts at Mass. Audubon do quick health exams on the turtles when they arrive

Then the team at Mass. Audubon coordinates volunteer drivers that will bring each turtle from the outer Cape to the Aquarium's Animal Care Center in Quincy, Mass. It's about a two-hour drive, and during the thick of the rescue season there are sometimes several trips to Quincy made each day.

Volunteer drivers from Cape Cod look on as the Aquarium's rescue team starts intake exams on the new patients

And that's when the Aquarium's rescue team begins the rehabilitation process for each sea turtle. It's a long journey to recovery, and most of the turtles recover enough to return to the ocean. Follow the journey right here on the Rescue Blog! Stay tuned for future posts about this year's intake exams, swim tests and feedings.

Want to help? Sponsor a sea turtle at the New England Aquarium! Animal Sponsorship helps with the daily cost of care—including the best possible medical care, food and enrichment.


  1. Any updates on this turtle rescue season? How many turtles are you currently rehabilitating? Thanks!

  2. Any updates on the turtle my friend and I found in Truro with the tracker?