MANTEO, N.C. (WVEC) -- More cold-stunned sea turtles are arriving at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island. As of Monday, 96 turtles have been admitted to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center.
Donations for the sea turtles have also been flooding in. Donations to the Star Center through the N.C. Aquarium Society have surpassed $3,000 since Friday and donors have purchased $850 in supplies from the STAR Center's wish list on Amazon.
“We are extremely thankful for everyone’s help,” said NCARI Director Maylon White. “Cold-stun season increases the demand for resources, supplies and energy, and these kinds of donations make a big difference.”
30 turtles were recovered over the weekend on beaches around Hatteras and transported to NCARI, adding to more than 60 that arrived by Friday evening.
Cold-stunning occurs when water temperatures drop rapidly before sea turtles have a chance to make their way back to warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. Symptoms are hypothermia-like, and the turtles are often found stranded on beaches up and down the Outer Banks.
The STAR Center is utilizing extra space to house the turtles during their recovery: the public walkway of the STAR Center is lined with bins containing recovering turtles, as is the guest bathrooms near the Aquarium admission offices.
Extra staff has been brought in to help assist in moving turtles from space to space to warm them up.
According to the aquarium, many of the turtles are not experiencing any of the residual health issues or malnourishment sometimes associated with cold-stunning, and are displaying good swimming ability as soon as they are back to their ideal temperature.
As many as 20 turtles may be going back to the sea as early as next week. They would be released from a boat off the shore near Morehead City.