USA TODAY US Edition
Loggerhead turtles rescued from cold in Mass.
TRURO, Mass. – A large loggerhead turtle that washed ashore Friday was among more than 150 cold-stunned sea turtles to strand on Cape Cod beaches in a three-day span, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
The loggerhead, an adult male that weighed 350 pounds, was moved from Great Hollow Beach by Department of Public Works staff and brought to the sanctuary in South Wellfleet. It was driven to New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Center.
The weight of the loggerhead outstripped that of an adult female found two years ago at Great Island in Wellfleet – and named "Munchkin" by the team that cared for her. Munchkin went through rehabilitation at New England Aquarium and was released back into the water last year.
“It’s pretty rare for an adult sea turtle to strand in the fall,” the sanctuary's sea turtle stranding coordinator, Karen Dourdeville, said in the statement. “The vast majority of turtles that become cold-stunned here are juvenile sea turtles or sub-adults.”
Sea turtle strandings in the fall, an annual event on Cape Cod, occur when the turtles are unable to navigate out of Cape Cod Bay to swim to warmer waters. When the bay water temperatures drop, the turtles become immobile and can wash ashore. Most of the turtles that become cold-stunned are young Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Loggerheads, , do not typically succumb to the cold until December.
Friday, Truro officials responded quickly to the request for help with the stranded loggerhead, Dourdeville said. When a 350-pound turtle strands and needs to be rescued, more than the usual amount of help is needed, she said.
“We really appreciate the town’s willingness to respond to our request for help and to handle the rescue so efficiently," Dourdeville said.