A Missouri aquarium is saving cold-stunned sea turtles

A loggerhead sea turtle being rescued at Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium/Courtesy photo

Loggerhead sea turtles are amazing creatures—living nearly as long as humans and migrating distances longer than whales.

There is one situation that poses a big risk to the reptiles, though: rapidly cooling waters cause a condition known as “cold-stunning.” when the turtles are unable to move to warmer waters fast enough they experience a condition known as hypothermia, or “cold stunning.” Cold stunning leaves the turtles lethargic and unable to secure food or defend themselves. Weather patterns have made for a season with almost a thousand cold-stunned turtles washing ashore in the Northeast.

Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield has stepped in to help for a third time, starting the new year by nursing ten sea turtles that washed up on the shores of Cape Cod. The turtles were rescued by private flights coordinated by the nonprofit organization Turtles Fly Too, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In about twelve weeks, the turtles should be healthy enough to reintroduce to the sea.

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium is one of a few facilities across the country that can handle the turtles, which are typically three-hundred-plus pounds. Voted America’s Best Aquarium by the readers of USA Today for a fourth time last year, Wonders of Wildlife will provide the loggerhead turtles with critical medical care and long-term rehabilitation before releasing them back into their natural habitats.

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