2014 Turtles: In the trenches

It's looking to be another busy sea turtle season. We'll be posting updates and snapshots of the action here on this blog. This post is an overview of what happens during these early days of a very busy time for us.

After a busy weekend of sea turtle strandings, the number of sea turtles arriving for care is not letting up. More than 40 turtles arrived at our doorstep on Wednesday. That's roughly equal to the number of turtles that arrived over the whole weekend!

A patient sitting on its towel donut for an intake exam

So our long days are consumed with treating the turtles that have arrived in the past couple weeks (that's a whole day right there), plus doing intake exams on all the new patients that arrived that day, coordinating transportation for turtles that will complete their rehabilitation at another facility (we need to make room for more turtles!), coordinating volunteers to help us during all these exams and transports. Oh, and paperwork, of course! Each turtle has a detailed chart of its health, bloodwork, treatments and swim time. Most of us don't go home until well after 10 pm.  

Mass Audubon documents and triages each turtle found on the beaches, and they find drivers to bring the
turtles to the Aquarium's sea turtle hospital in Quincy | Photo: Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay via Facebook

Our rescue partners at Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay are just as busy! They have the tremendous task of coordinating volunteers to walk the beaches. Any turtles found are brought into the facility, triaged and then they coordinate volunteers to drive the turtles more than two hours to our facility in Quincy. With dozens and dozens of turtles being found on Cape Cod beaches, that can mean several trips a day! Without their end of this rescue mission, there would be no turtles to save.

Huge numbers of sea turtles continue to wash up on Cape Cod beaches. Here's a scene from Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay
Photo: Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times via Twitter 

Buckle up! In the weeks and months ahead, we'll provide more information about the work that goes into treating these turtles so they're healthy enough to be released back into the ocean. It looks like it'll be a long haul, but we are ready for the challenge! It's a privilege to be able to care for these special animals in need in the hopes that we can help these endangered species in the wild.

If you see a stranded turtle, please cover it with a layer of seaweed, mark it and call Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay at 508-349-2615. These are endangered turtles so every one you save counts a lot! Another way to help is by supporting the Aquarium and our rescue efforts. Thank you.

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