ATLANTA — The Georgia Aquarium welcomed 11 cold-stunned sea turtles for temporary care and housing at their off-site facility.
"All 11 turtles were rescued off the coast of New England after they were found suffering from cold-stunning - a condition in which sea turtles become weak and inactive from exposure to cold temperatures," the aquarium said.
There are two types of turtles: Four loggerheads and seven Kemp's ridley sea turtles, considered endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the aquarium, the Kemp's ridley is the smallest sea turtle species in the world.
Animal teams at the Georgia Aquarium monitor the turtles "as they warm up, provide feedings and any additional veterinary care they may need until they are strong enough to be released."
"Georgia Aquarium is proud to provide a home and care for these cold-stunned sea turtles with the goal of eventual release back to the ocean,” said Kristin Mathews, senior curator of animal acquisitions and quarantine at Georgia Aquarium. "Without our help, these animals face worsening conditions which can lead to death. It is crucial that we do our part to save these endangered species."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) works yearly to "plans for cold-stunning events to organize and deploy resources to look for and assist cold-stunned turtles." The aquarium is an active member in a multi-institution effort with NOAA, other zoos, aquariums and rescue organizations to save hundreds of turtles each year.
How Georgia Aquarium transported the turtles from New England
The aquarium works with an organization called 'Turtles Fly Too' of dedicated volunteer pilots who coordinate and facilitate relocation efforts for endangered species.
"They donate their time, aircraft, and resources to fly cold-stunned sea turtles to zoos and aquariums for treatment and care until they can return to the ocean," Georgia Aquarium said.
Once the turtles safely arrive, the Georgia Aquarium's team of expert aquarists and veterinarians perform an initial exam and get the turtles the help they need based on their medical findings.
Check out the Georgia Aquarium's social channels for updates and information on these rescued turtles; Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn.