Volunteers helping stranded turtles on Cape Cod
Oct 26, 2010
There are currently 615 animals on the endangered or threatened species list in the U.S., according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Kemp's ridley sea turtles are one of the most endangered sea creatures, and many are already facing adversity this stranding season.
This week, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle washed up on the shore of an Eastham beach, according to Cape Cod Online. Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary says that the appearance of this small, five-pound turtle marked the beginning of stranding season, which occurs between October and December. The turtle was brought to the New England Aquarium for rehabilitation by rescue volunteers.
Young Kemp's ridley turtles often swim north along the east coast before winter every year. Along with loggerheads and green sea turtles, Kemp's ridleys often lose their sense of direction when they reach Cape Cod. In combination with strong winds and cold currents, these endangered species often find themselves stranded on the shore.
Rescue efforts by volunteers and organizations, such as Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, have helped hundreds of turtles recover and return to sea. Individuals who discover a stranded turtle should move it above high tide and cover it with seaweed until rescuers can arrive for assistance.