Sea Turtle Recovery helps rescue turtles that wash up along beaches

Posted: Updated:
WEST ORANGE -

This time of year is very busy for an organization out of West Orange called Sea Turtle Recovery, and the facility just accepted eight new turtles in need of life-saving rehabilitation.

Sea turtles that failed to migrate south to warmer waters are washing up along beaches this time of year.

They are cold-stunned, suffering from hypothermia, and their organs are shutting down.

They may look lethargic or dead, but they're not.

That is where Sea Turtle Recovery comes in.

Blood was taken from a Kemp's Ridley turtle struggling to stay alive.

"We want to make sure his electrolyte levels are staying normal,” says staffer Bill Deer. “His blood glucose is staying normal so that he's well enough to eat."

He was then given fluids to ward off dehydration.

"Sometimes they're so debilitated from the cold they'll have a heart rate of one beat per hour," says Deer.

Staffer Bill Deer says it’s one of eight turtles found cold-stunned in Cape Cod.

They can only be warmed up five degrees at a time to avoid shock.

Nearby, in an intensive care tank, Green Turtle, Eco Ed, is moving out. He was found on Long Beach Island with a lung infection.

"These turtles start to get sick at about 55 degrees and he came in at 53 degrees," says Deer.

Canyon, the loggerhead, is recovering from three propeller cuts suffered in Barnegat Bay. He's moving well and putting on weight, but it could be a year before he’s released.

 "Those cuts actually extended all the way into his body cavity, so we have been treating him with some really strong antibiotics to kill off internal infection," says Deer.

In the last two years, Sea Turtle Recovery has rehabbed and released 27 turtles back into the ocean.

One of their bigger success stories was the release on Sept. 5 of a loggerhead named Tammy.

The need to help these animals will be there. 

Since the weather turned, the northeast has had more than 720 cold-stunned turtles.

Before Sea Turtle Recovery came about, animals rescued from the New Jersey shoreline often had to be transported as far away as North Carolina for care.

Such transports are risky.

This organization ensures these turtles stay in New Jersey. 

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