Environment
10:33 am
Tue March 19, 2013

155 Sea Turtles Rescued From Cold Water Off NC Coast

Several live cold-stunned green turtles from Cape Lookout Bight
Several live cold-stunned green turtles from Cape Lookout Bight
Credit NC Sea Turtle Project

155 sea turtles were rescued off North Carolina’s coasts and beaches this year and treated for “cold shock,” caused by low water temperatures.  That’s more than usual, and about half the animals are still recovering. Wildlife officials reported a record number of sea turtle nests last summer. They say it's not likely high numbers will be seen again this season because the same turtles don't typically come back to nest every year.

Sarah Finn, a biologist with the state Wildlife Resources Commission, says it's still difficult to tell whether nest protection efforts are boosting the number of turtles. “Sea turtles don't start breeding - they're not adults until they reach 30 or 35 years old,” she says. “So monitoring and management of them in this state hasn't been going on that long. So we're just getting into impacts that could be seen from that.”

57 turtles are still recuperating from "cold shock" at specialized treatment facilities on the coast. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center takes in the most serious cases.