Gulf World rehabilitates cold-stunned sea turtles from New England

Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Arrive
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:45 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Snow birds aren’t the only ones who flock to the Sunshine State during the winter months. Gulf World Marine Institute staff are now monitoring 30 cold-stunned sea turtles from the Northeast.

“We’re doing this because they’re still getting cold-stunned turtles in the New England area regularly,” Lauren Albrittain, stranding coordinator for Gulf World Marine Institute, said. “So what they do is they send out the ones they’ve already stabilized in order to make room for new patients.”

Response organizations and network partners up north rescued the cold-stunned sea turtles in November.

“It means they basically can’t swim normally,” Albrittain said. “They get pushed ashore, their functions get reduced so they develop infections and secondary issues. It means they need extra help.”

A private jet then flew them in from the New England area to Sheltair Aviation ECP on Wednesday. The sea turtles were later transported Gulf World Marine Institute where they received fluids, check ups, behavioral assessments, and x-rays.

“We keep each turtle depending on their own recovery rate,” Albrittain said. “They’re already on antibiotics so what we do when we get them back is we reassess.”

GWMI officials said they receive batches of cold-stunned sea turtles from New England every year.

“We have had at most 75 one year through three separate transports, so 30 is just the beginning,” Albrittain said.

The sea turtles will be released into the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean once they’re medically cleared by the GWMI vet team.

You can donate to GWMI by visiting its website.