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Wonders of Wildlife companions with fellow AZA-accredited amenities in nationwide sea turtle rehabilitation effort


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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Revealed Might 4, 2023

Greater than 500 cold-stunned sea turtles have been flown to 12 AZA amenities throughout the nation for essential care and rehabilitation this yr.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. As a part of a nationwide dedication to conservation, 12 Affiliation of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) amenities have teamed up this yr to rescue and rehabilitate 518 cold-stunned sea turtles off the coast of New England.

Taking part on this international effort are among the nation’s prime wildlife conservation and schooling locations, together with the world-renowned and award-winning Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Nationwide Museum & Aquarium (WOW), New England Aquarium, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Florida Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, Nationwide Aquarium, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium, SeaWorld Orlando, and South Carolina Aquarium.

Within the final decade, greater than 10,000 sea turtles have required rescue alongside the U.S. Atlantic Coast on account of cold-stunning. This life-threatening situation happens when water temperatures quickly decline, and sea turtles are unable to maneuver to hotter waters or fend for themselves. Like all reptiles, sea turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and can’t regulate their physique temperature. If water temperatures drop under roughly 50 levels Fahrenheit (10 levels Celsius), sea turtles turn into torpid and are unable to swim, forage for meals and defend themselves from predators. The variety of cold-stunned sea turtles varies from yr to yr based mostly on migratory habits and the severity of winter storm circumstances within the space. This season, greater than 1,000 turtles washed ashore, making it the third-largest cold-stunning occasion on document out of the Northeastern United States.


Chilly-stunned sea turtles being rescued off the seashores of Cape Cod. Photograph Courtesy to Andrew Spence.

The Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are two key governmental companies devoted to conserving and managing marine ecosystems. These organizations oversee sea turtle rescue efforts and facilitate transport from the seashores to the New England Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, the place the turtles obtain preliminary assessments and pressing care yr after yr. Because the hospital fills up, the nonprofit group Turtles Fly Too then helps transport most of the animals throughout the nation to AZA-accredited establishments.


Turtles Fly Too helps transport sea turtles from the New England Aquarium to different AZA amenities nationwide for rehabilition.

All seven sea turtle species are on the endangered species record, making the work of those amenities much more necessary. With the complexity of their life cycle, only one in 1,000 hatchlings that make it to the ocean will survive to maturity. It’s vital to the way forward for the species to return as many sea turtles as potential again to the wild inhabitants. They’re a necessary a part of marine ecosystems worldwide and are at nice danger on account of water temperature modifications and different environmental components.

“With tons of of turtles stranding annually on the shores of Cape Cod, it takes an enormous partnership of organizations throughout the nation to make sure these animals will be rehabilitated and returned to their ocean dwelling,” mentioned Adam Kennedy, Director of Rescue and Rehabilitaton on the New England Aquarium. “Because the New England Aquarium continues to supply long-term take care of dozens of sea turtles, a lot of them critically endangered, we’re grateful to all of the amenities which have stepped up to make sure every season is a conservation success.”


Sea turtle rehabilitation on the New England Aquarium. Photograph courtesy of Vanessa Kahn/New England Aquarium.

That is the third consecutive yr that Wonders of Wildlife has partnered with the New England Aquarium. In early January, 10 of the rescued loggerhead turtles arrived safely at Wonders of Wildlife for professional care. WOW’s Life Sciences and Veterinary groups instantly started their work by growing customized remedy plans for every turtle based mostly on its wants. Key elements of rehabilitation embrace steadily warming the animals again to a secure physique temperature and making certain they’ll eat and swim usually. Every animal was monitored across the clock and punctiliously fed, measured, and assessed. After 4 months of rehabilitation, the turtles have been cleared for launch.

On Might 1, the loggerhead sea turtles and a group from Wonders of Wildlife flew to Beaufort, North Carolina with the assistance of Turtles Fly Too and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. All 10 rehabilitated sea turtles have been launched again into the wild at Fort Macon State Park.


Sea turtle launch at Fort Macon State Park in Beaufort, NC. Photograph courtesy of Dylan Ray.

“For our group to behave as a steward for the preservation and conservation of wildlife is what WOW is all about,” WOW Director of Animal Care Mike Daniel mentioned. “Working with our companions to make sure the protected launch again into the wild of those animals means a lot to us. We wish to do the whole lot we will to protect this species and make it possible for we don’t lose these superb animals from the world’s oceans!”

Alongside WOW, every of the opposite AZA amenities has performed a essential function by offering companies which are advancing animal welfare, public engagement, and the conservation of wildlife. This international effort demonstrates the immense worth of partnership in conservation and cements the dedication to preserving endangered species and conserving treasured ecosystems. Wonders of Wildlife is honored to accomplice with these prime wildlife conservation and schooling locations.
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