Public involvement saves life of a sea turtle
Cold Stunned Sea Turtle Rescued from Montauk
Green Sea Turtle found near death rescued by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.
Contact: Rob DiGiovanni, Foundation Director, Senior Biologist
Kim Durham, Rescue Program Director (631) 369-9840
Date: November 15, 2004
At 8:45 am biologists working with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation were alerted to the seasonís first cold-stunned (hypothermic) sea turtle. A local resident walking the beach at Navy Rd, East Hampton reported finding a ďdeadĒ sea turtle washed up on the beach and notified the Riverhead Foundationís emergency 24-hour hotline (631) 369-9829. Art Hedler, rescue team volunteer arrived on scene and assessed the animal as cold stunned and not dead and immediately brought the sea turtle back to the Riverhead Foundationís hospital facility located at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium. Following an initial physical examination by Kim Durham, Rescue Program Director the young Atlantic green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was listed in guarded condition suffering from moderate hypothermia. Weighing just over seven pounds the debilitated sea turtle is estimated to be between 2-3 years of age. This sea turtle will continue to be closely monitored by staff members for the next several days and will likely be hospitalized at the Riverhead Foundationís facility for the next several months.
Cold-stunning is a condition that, like hypothermia, is brought on when cold-blooded animals are in water temperatures below 500 F. Since cold-stunning is a condition that slows the movements of inflicted sea turtles, many are initially reported dead but in fact, are only cold-stunned. The Riverhead Foundation encourages the public to immediately call in any sea turtles found to the emergency hotline number (631-369-9829). Do not place any sea turtles back into the water.
Three of the four sea turtle species known to inhabit New York waters during the summer and fall are threatened by this condition each year. The Atlantic green sea turtle is listed as a threatened sea turtle species and is often encountered within local bays and estuaries. All sea turtles must begin their migrations to southern warmer waters by late October or risk slowly freezing to death as water temperatures drop below 50ļ F.
The Riverhead Foundation is a not for profit organization dedicated to the administration of New York Stateís Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program. Information on public and corporate donations can be found by visiting the Foundationís website at http://www.riverheadfoundation.org or by calling 631-369-9840. To learn how you can help save Long Islandís sea turtles or to learn more about the Riverhead Foundationís Animal Adoption Program please call the office or visit the website.
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