Turtle season is finally getting under way! As the temperatures get colder, and the seas become hospitable, sea turtles begin stranding on the beaches of Cape Cod. Here, in the Sea Turtle Hospital at the New England Aquarium, we are ready and waiting. We have spent the past few months gearing up, cleaning, restocking medical supplies and sprucing up our facility.
In early August we released our final turtles, with one exception, a Ridley named Golden Crisp. With one turtle left in house we, the volunteers, had plenty of time to help the staff make improvements to our facility. Since that time, we built a new filter system for one of our tanks, created new tank dividers, drained and scrubbed all swim tanks, and freshly painted the deck. While we were busy working on the facility, we were surprised by a few early visitors. A juvenile Kemp’s ridley and a robust, young, loggerhead arrived at our facility in the middle of September. These turtles were not cold-stunned, and presented with other health issues. They received first rate medical and husbandry care over the course of a few weeks until they were cleared for release by our veterinary staff.
|Early season turtles, this is the Kemp's ridley|
|Above is the loggerhead.|
Just two weeks ago, they were transferred to the National Aquarium of Baltimore, along with Golden Crisp, for release back into the ocean.
As the anticipation builds for this season, anyone who knows our turtle rescue program asks the same question...they all want to know what the turtle naming theme is for 2014. Interestingly enough we just found out ourselves, but we aren't ready to tell the secret yet. We reached out to our sea turtle partners at the Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Mass Audubon) and asked them to decide the naming theme this year. In case there are newcomers to this blog, Mass Audubon is in charge of all sea turtle beach rescues in southeast Massachusetts.
This is a crucial role in the sea turtle effort in Massachusetts. Audubon Staff and volunteers walk the beaches day and night at each high tide searching for and rescuing the turtles from the beach. They also manage all the turtle transports from the Cape to our facility, often managing/scheduling two transports a day in the busiest part of the season. We will share the naming theme in the next blog when we introduce the first cold stunned sea turtle of 2014....stay tuned!
|Volunteers take a breather after working on one of the turtle pools... before it gets filled with water for the season.|
The new sturdy dividers are ready for the turtles!
Initial swim pools for when the turtles first arrive.
Please visit previous Rescue blog posts to view photos from last season’s releases and the highlights from the 2013 turtle stranding season.
And… Stay tuned for updates as the 2014 season progresses!
Mass Audubon and NEAq volunteers, staff and family celebrate another successful season after a summer turtle release on Cape Cod.
This post was created by our guest bloggers, NEAQ Rescue and Rehab Team Volunteers!