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Three endangered sea turtles rescued from Cape Cod frigid waters, rehabilitating at Florida Aquarium

Posted at 7:30 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 19:30:51-05

APOLLO BEACH, Fla. -- Three critically endangered sea turtles found “cold-stunned” and stranded on Cape Cod are getting the gift of rest and rehabilitation thanks to the Florida Aquarium.

"These guys became a little too cold and comatose. Kind of like hypothermia for us. Everything kind of shuts down and then they just drift onto the shore," said Rachel Thomas, senior biologist for Florida Aquarium.

Close to 300 cold-stunned turtles have been found in the Cape Cod area in the past month. Their sea turtle rehabilitation facilities are running out of room, so volunteer pilots flew the three loggerhead turtles to Florida on a private jet. Then they were transported to the Florida Aquarium Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach.

"It's not easy being a turtle, there’s a lot of things that have negative impacts on their survival," said Thomas.

Statistics show that only 1 in 1000 sea turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood.

"Fortunately, cold-stunning events are really easy to treat. You get them back up to temperature, slowly. You give them antibiotics and other supportive care," said Thomas.

Thomas says the loggerheads are in good shape, and it may take two to four months for the turtles to rehabilitate and be ready for release.