Sea Turtles Say Goodbye To Quincy Hospital, Say Hello Cape Cod Waters

Photo: WBZ NewsRadio\ Emma Friedman

QUINCY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The turtles at Quincy's sea turtle hospital celebrated World Turtle Day by waving their fins goodbye.

WBZ's Emma Friedman got a chance to say goodbye to Gnocchi, Rotini, Fettuccine, and some other pasta-named turtles before they embark on their journey back home.

Several turtles at the New England Aquarium's sea turtle hospital located in Quincy are getting ready to be released back into the waters off Cape Cod. Hundreds of cold-stunned beached turtles come into the facility for treatment every year. Turtles become cold-stunned, or experience turtle hypothermia, when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

Every turtle in the Quincy care facility was discovered on Cape Cod around October and November and taken to the facility for treatment.

Adam Kennedy, Director of Aquarium Rescue and Rehabilitation, said the warming Gulf of Maine is to blame for the cold-stunned turtles. In recent years, the turtles have been staying in Cape Cod Bay area longer than usual before trying to head south for warmer water. Due to the "arm shape" of the Cape, turtles are unable to find their way around before their cold-blooded bodies get too cold and float up to the surface unable to swim, causing them to end up on the beach.

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"The turtles will start to try to migrate south but because of the Cape being that arm, you know these turtles just want to head south it's kind of counter-intuitive for them to go north and loop around the Cape," Kennedy told WBZ's Emma Friedman.

In 2014, the turtle hospital got a record-breaking 692 beached turtles coming in for treatment. Then in 2020, they broke their record again with more than 700 turtles.

"We've had about 4,500 turtles come into this facility for treatment," said Kennedy. "It is a lot of turtles especially when we moved here the average numbers were like 35, 40 turtles."

Kennedy said the turtles will be released starting in July when the water temperature is warm enough. They will do several releases this summer, giving some other turtles who are not quite ready to leave some time to get better before they head home.

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