The National Aquarium's Animal Rescue team is currently caring for 18 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and one sea turtle that stranded in St. Michaels, Maryland in November. Each year, the Aquarium chooses a naming theme for its rescue animals, and this year, we are "cheesed" to announce our rescue turtles are nicknamed after cheese.
The 14 Kemp's ridley, two loggerhead and two green sea turtles first spent time at the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center and are now in Baltimore for long-term rehabilitation.
Upon arrival at the Aquarium, the turtles, including those nicknamed Brie, Havarti, Muenster, Gorgonzola and Feta, received preliminary exams from the Aquarium's Animal Health team. The majority of the turtles are recovering from ailments commonly associated with cold-stunning including pneumonia, respiratory distress, dehydration, infection and emaciation. As their rehabilitation continues, the Animal Health and Rescue teams will provide round-the-clock care to every patient, all working together towards the greater goal of returning the sea turtles back to their natural habitat.
In addition, Cheddar, the Aquarium's first cold-stunned patient of the season that stranded in St. Michaels is doing well after several weeks in rehab.
Animal Rescue staff expects some of the rescue turtle patients to be ready for the first release of the season in early February.
Since 1991, National Aquarium Animal Rescue has rehabilitated and released 274 animals including 222 endangered sea turtles. The National Aquarium's Animal Rescue program is responsible for responding to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles along the nearly 3,190 miles of Maryland coast and works with stranding partners throughout the Greater Atlantic Regional Stranding Network to help respond, rescue and release animals year-round.
If you or someone you know finds a cold-stunned sea turtle or marine mammal in distress along the shoreline, the best thing you can do is give it space and immediately contact a trained wildlife first responder. The National Aquarium's Stranding Hotline is 410-576-3880. National Aquarium Animal Rescue is on call 24/7 to respond to these events.