This past Sunday, December 12, 20 highly endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were flown to SeaWorld Orlando from the New England Aquarium. The US Coast Guard volunteered to fly the animals to Orlando. The turtles were rescued from the frigid waters of Cape Cod Bay in November and were treated at the Aquarium for extreme hypothermia, severe dehydration and pneumonia.
SeaWorld’s animal experts and veterinarians will provide hands-on care until the turtles are strong enough to be returned to the wild. Over the next few days, weeks and even months, the park’s turtle experts and vets will be looking for increased swimming strength from each turtle and importantly, the ability to catch food and eat on their own.
Each winter, as temperatures drop in coastal waters from Florida to Cape Cod, sea turtles find themselves in danger. In fact, earlier in 2010, SeaWorld cared for over 300 sea turtles that were stunned by the state’s unusually cold weather. Of the turtles rescued in January more than 250 were returned to the wild by SeaWorld’s turtle team.
What should you do if you spot a sea turtle who seems to be in distress? Call your local wildlife agency quickly and report the location of the animal. It's best to leave the animal alone, as you can cause more harm than good.
SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to save injured, abandoned and orphaned animals, including manatees, dolphins, whales, birds and turtles. Since the rescue program began at SeaWorld in San Diego, more than 18,000 animals have been rescued.