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Sea Turtle Rehab

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles

Each winter, juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtles strand off the coast of New England due to an event called cold-stunning. Turtles are unable to regulate their body temperatures, and when the water temperature becomes too cold, the turtles become weak and have difficulty swimming. They float at the surface of the water, stop eating, suffer from frostbite, and become susceptible to secondary infections as well as other health problems.

Kemp's ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtle and are federally protected animals – facilities caring for and rehabilitating these turtles must adhere to strict guidelines. Since opening in 2020, Mississippi Aquarium has rehabilitated and released 106 Kemp's ridley turtles. Because Kemp's ridley turtles are native to the Gulf of Mexico, they can be released into the waters off the Mississippi coast upon completing rehabilitation. Currently, the Aquarium has 41 turtles undergoing rehabilitation. It cost between $350 - $500 to rehabilitate each turtle depending on what kind of ailments they have. Over the next several months, the team at the Aquarium could really use your support in caring for an influx of temporary residents!

You Can Help!

Mississippi Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and an approved facility for sea turtle care that relies heavily on the support of donors like you. Your thoughtful donation will help provide essential medical care and nutrition to aid in the speedy recovery and continued conservation of these critically endangered turtles. Donate below!

"We are honored to help our colleagues from the New England Aquarium by taking in sea turtles that were found cold-stunned. The turtles are flown to us by volunteer pilots from Turtles Fly Too, a service that helps transport turtles from rescue centers to rehabilitation centers around the country. Most of the turtles have evidence of pneumonia when they come to us. The turtles receive a full physical exam with bloodwork upon arrival, and we follow up by taking x-rays a few weeks after they arrive. Turtles with pneumonia will be on antibiotics; all turtles receive fluids to help with dehydration and any other medications as needed. We are excited to get these turtles healthy, so we can invite the community to watch them be released back into the Gulf," said Mississippi Aquarium, Vice President of Veterinary Services, Dr. Alexa Delaune.

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