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Sea turtles rehabilitated on Long Island have been released

Megan Nagel

Cold-stunned sea turtles who began rehabilitation on Long Island in the fall have been returned to warmer waters.

Twenty Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were taken in for treatment at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. Based in Westhampton Beach, it is one of only two organizations in New York that cares for sea turtles in this condition.

Robert DiGiovanni is the chief scientist at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. He said this is a common occurrence in our region.

“In the northern waters, late in the season when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ll start to become hypothermic," DiGiovanni said. "They slow down in their feeding. So then, the predominant wind direction will push them up onto beaches.” 

The turtles are given a chance to rest, and once they have more energy, are transferred to 1,000 gallon tanks to raise their body temperatures.

Eight of the turtles were flown to North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Monday and released by the state’s Wildlife Resource Commission.

Nine of the turtles are still being cared for on Long Island.

If you see an injured or sick marine animal on a beach near you, call the New York State Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.