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More than a Dozen Sick Sea Turtles from New England Flown Nearly 1,000 Miles to South Carolina
11/24/2014 11:42:16 AM


Fifteen new sea turtles were just admitted to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program, a new record intake for the non-profit's largest conservation program. The patients were flown from Boston last night on a donated flight and will spend the next few months recuperating at the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital.


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The turtles, 14 Kemp's ridleys, the most endangered of the sea turtle species, and one green sea turtle, were part of a massive cold-stunning event along the New England coast. In just the past week, the New England Aquarium, located in Boston, has admitted more than 150 cold-stunned sea turtles found along the Massachusetts coastline. The influx of new patients has inundated the New England Aquarium, prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) northeast stranding staff to reach out to other facilities along the East Coast for assistance. The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program responded to the call and secured a private flight for 31 affected turtles. The flight was generously donated by Margie and Will Dorminy, Charleston locals and owners of Southern Eagle Distributing. Fifteen of the turtles are now receiving care at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The remaining 16 turtles were transferred to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center located on Jekyll Island. The Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital is now treating 23 sea turtle patients representing three different species.


More about Cold-stunning:

Sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles that depend on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Typically, sea turtles migrate to warmer waters in the fall but if they don't make the migration before coastal water temperatures drop, they suffer from hypothermia, also known as cold-stunning. Symptoms of cold-stunning include a decreased heart and respiration rates, decreased circulation, and lethargy, all followed by shock, pneumonia and, in worst case scenarios, death.


What can you do?:

You, too, can help threatened and endangered sea turtles. If you find sick or injured sea turtles, contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) sea turtle hotline at (800) 922-5431. You can also help care for sea turtles in recovery in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program by going to and making a donation.


To track the progress of current patients in recovery, visit our Sea Turtle Rescue Program blog at Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the hospital, including public sea turtle release details.


Fast Facts:

  • Thirty-one Kemp's ridley sea turtles flown to Charleston last night.
  • The turtles were flown on a private flight donated by Will and Margie Dorminy.
  • Fifteen of those turtles were transferred to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
  • This is a record patient intake for the Sea Turtle Hospital.
  • The Sea Turtle Hospital is now treating 23 sea turtle patients.
  • The public can visit the turtle patients by booking a Sea Turtle Hospital tour.

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