MANTEO, N.C. (WVEC) -- Dozens of sea turtles treated for cold-stunning are headed back to the sea.
Between December 10 and December 20, 100 turtles were checked into N.C. Aquarium's Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. The water temperatures dropped significantly causing the turtles to be cold-stunned.
The turtles suffered hypothermia-like symptoms that lowered their heart rate and circulation. They were treated by warming them slowly over the course of a few days.
The U.S. Coast Guard will be releasing 42 warmed and rehabilitated turtles on Friday, December 22 in the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. N.C. Aquarium's veterinary team cleared the turtles for release.
“As long as they are swimming well, display no signs of injury, malnutrition or illness and pass a vet exam, they are OK for release,” said STAR Center Manager Amber White.
Some turtles require a longer stay until they are fit to swim and fend for themselves.
The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island is still accepting donations from the community to help rehabilitate the rest of the cold-stunned turtles.