Zoo Miami takes in 8 ‘cold-stunned’ sea turtles from Massachusetts

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The harsh winter conditions up north can be critical to sea turtles’ health, leaving them “cold-stunned” and incapacitated, which is why Zoo Miami is helping some sea turtles at risk.

According to a press release from the zoo, which opened its Sea Turtle Hospital earlier this year, it received eight Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from Massachusetts Friday afternoon.

The juvenile sea turtles were flown to Miami Executive Airport on a plane provided by an organization called “Turtles Fly Too.”

They came from the National Marine Life Center in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts.

They each weigh between approximately 3 and 7 pounds and were “picked up by Zoo Miami officials at the airport and transported the short distance back to the zoo where they were individually examined and placed into recovery tanks at the Zoo Miami Sea Turtle Hospital,” the press release stated.

(Ron Magill/Miami Zoo)

According to zoo officials, the turtles are each suffering from different levels of a variety of issues, from dehydration and emaciation to swollen eyes and abrasions.

“The Animal Health Team will be able to make a better assessment of their condition over the next few days as they acclimate to their new surroundings,” the news release stated.

Zoo officials hope to eventually be able to release the sea turtles into the wild.

“The Kemp’s ridley turtle is the world’s most endangered and smallest species of sea turtle with a shell length rarely exceeding two feet and weighing up to a hundred pounds,” the news release stated. “They are found from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia where they feed primarily on crabs and other shellfish. Illegal harvesting of their eggs and getting caught in nets are the main reasons for their critically endangered status.”

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