On January 21, the Aquarium’s STAR Center took in 96 sea turtles for assessment and rehabilitation after they were found washed up on Hatteras Island. Recent weather caused these turtles to become lethargic and unable to swim properly, a condition similar to hypothermia called cold-stunning.
Individuals working with multiple organizations, including N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles), Cape Hatteras National Seashore and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, combed the shorelines for turtles and continue to do so today. Any turtles found are first moved to a staging area in Buxton, where each one receives initial measurements and documentation. Next, they are transported to the STAR Center, where staff and volunteers complete intake for each animal, including measuring weight, heart rate, assessing body condition and taking a blood sample for analysis. Fluids with calcium and vitamins are also administered to help in recovery.
The turtles must be gradually warmed up, so these new patients were placed in an area with a cooler temperature, which happened to be our outside restrooms, both of which are closed at this time.
Due to the amount of turtles in our care, the STAR Center will be closed until further notice.