HYANNIS –A Michigan couple will fly 52, endangered sea turtles on Friday that had been recently treated for hypothermia by the New England Aquarium to the Florida panhandle for further rehab and eventual release.
The couple responded to an urgent request passed on to the general aviation community looking for volunteer pilots to transport the re-warmed young sea turtles.
Since last Saturday, the New England Aquarium has received more than 100 live sea turtles rescued off of the beaches of Cape Cod Bay by the staff and volunteers of Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy is full, and more sea turtles are expected to strand this weekend as the weather clears.
Temperatures will drop, but strong winds blowing out of the northwest are expected to create big enough waves to wash many sea turtles up on the beaches of the Outer Cape.
Once in Florida, the sea turtles will finish their rehab at the Gulf World Marine Park.
Fifty of the turtles are Kemp’s ridleys.
So far this season, the Aquarium has received 229 live sea turtles.
Many re-warmed sea turtles have already been shipped out to other rehab facilities up and and down the East Coast, including the Pittsburgh Zoo and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
This season’s 229 is already the fourth largest number in the Aquarium’s quarter century of rehabbing sea turtles.