Attenuation temperatures and high winds outside Cape Cod in Massachusetts triggered the heartbreaking death of dozens of sea turtles this week.
Many of the turtles were found frozen in water; others are washed on the beach. Some of the victims were Kemp’s Ridley turtles, the most threatened sea turtles in the world.
“It was as if they fluttered in all the strange positions they swam”, Robert Prescott, chief of the Massachusetts Audubon Society Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, told the Cape Cod Times.
Of 82 turtles discovered the frost on Thursday, survived only one reported newspaper. A total of 21
9 dead or cold-turtles were found during the three days ending Friday.
If a dozen surviving turtles have been sent to the New England Aquarium to care about it. Others are treated at the Audubon Wildlife Center.
Turtles can get stuck in the hook-shaped cap that is difficult for them to negotiate. The cold-blooded animal systems begin to close when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees. They become immobilized and then win the grace of the wind.
Most turtles are from tropical areas and prefer water temperatures as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They are carried north in Gulf Stream during the summer but have to swim back south as the seasons change. Climate change and its warmer seawater can fool the turtles for long too far too far north where a sudden temperature decrease has fatal consequences.
“The sea turtles move farther north along our coast … as water warms and they expand their ranges,” Wallace Nichols, a turtle biologist and research assistant at California for the science academy, told the NBC. “So when we get these quick swings from warm to cooler, the turtles that have not made it south will definitely be in trouble.”
Animal workers and volunteers began to save cold-turtles that began last month. One of the early turtles washed when the temperature dropped was a 300-pound leatherback that could not be saved. But this week has been the most deadly so far.
Prescott believes that the number of turtles judged or killed by cold collected by wildlife workers can reach as high as 1 000 by the end of the year.