The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center successfully released three rehabilitated cold stun sea turtle patients on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Cape San Blas, Florida.
Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center received eight juvenile Kemps Ridley sea turtles back in December 2022 from Cape Cod Massachusetts after a massive cold stun event struck the area. On Wednesday, the C.A.R.E. team was able to release three of these turtles.
Daisy weighed 5.5 lbs when she first arrived to the CARE Center and weighed 6.5lbs on the day of her release. Daffodil weighed 4 lbs when she first arrived at the CARE Center and weighed 6 lbs on the day of her release. Camellia weighed 11 lbs when she first arrived at the CARE Center and weighed 12 lbs on the day of her release. Camellia was one of the kemps that took the longest to start eating. All three turtles were treated for conditions consistent with cold stunned turtles, specifically pneumonia and elevated white blood cell counts. After a 3-month rehabilitation, Daisy, Daffodil, and Camellia were deemed releasable.
Cold stun events occur annually off the coast of Massachusetts. In order to lend a hand, many turtles are transported to facilities across the US by a non-profit organization called Turtles Fly Too. Cold stunning usually happens when the water temperature drops below 50 F. Sea turtles experience a sort of hypothermia, like humans, sending all the blood to their internal organs. This causes the turtles to become lethargic and float at the surface and eventually washed ashore. If not found and treated, these sea turtles will die. Often times cold stun turtles will develop pneumonia and bone infections resulting in flipper loss. Gulfarium CARE Center has assisted with cold stun sea turtles since 2020, helping 36 turtles the past three years.
If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured, or deceased please report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).
Follow the C.A.R.E. Center on Facebook to learn more about sea turtles and the center's rehabilitation efforts. The C.A.R.E. Center and its patients can be visited as part of a general admission ticket to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.
The Gulfarium CARE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is proud to act as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online on the C.A.R.E. Center's webpage.
Tabitha Siegfried, the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center Stranding Coordinator, with two C.A.R.E. Center volunteers, Beth and Mandy, in Cape San Blas with three cold stun sea turtle patients.