The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center in Northwest Florida released eight Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, February 25th, 2021.

The sea turtles arrived at the C.A.R.E. Center on Monday, December 14th, 2020 after being stranded off the coast of New England during a mass cold-stun event. The turtles were released in Cape San Blas, as required by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Cold stunning occurs when a sea turtle is exposed to cold water for an extended period of time. This exposure causes their heartrate to decrease, resulting in the turtle becoming lethargic and often unable to eat. Unfortunately, cold stunning events, where large numbers of sea turtles become stranded, are not unusual in Northern areas during the months of November through February as water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

Upon arrival at the C.A.R.E. Center, the veterinary team assessed each individual turtle, took x-rays and determined the best plan of action to care for these endangered animals. All of the sea turtles received antibiotics during their rehabilitation to aid in their recovery. Once all sea turtles were doing well, had gained weight and were able to eat without assistance, they were deemed ready for release by the FWC.

“We are so grateful to have been able to help these sea turtles,” states Terra Throgmmorton, Gulfarium’s Medical and Stranding Coordinator. “Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world, so anything that we can do to try to conserve this precious species is vital. We are so thankful for everyone involved who has helped us to provide the best possible veterinary care for these turtles that came to us from the Northeastern seaboard of the Atlantic due to a cold-stun event”