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35 Hypothermia Sea Turtles Flown to Florida

Dec 10, 2012 01:49 AM EST
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Diana Nyad abandons swim from Cuba to Florida

The U.S. Coast Guard has moved 35 hypothermia sea turtles from an aquarium in New England to Florida.

At least 150 threatened species of sea turtles were rescued from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by The New England Aquarium Rescue Program in 2012, after they washed up along the Massachusetts Coast in the last few days. The turtles were suffering from hypothermia caused due to cold winter.

The rescued turtles were sheltered at the aquarium's Animal Care Center in order to help them recover from hypothermia. The center was filled to the capacity and could not accommodate anymore, after more than 100 sea turtles arrived in just 10 days, reports Boston.com.

The U.S. Coast Guard teamed up with the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region Stranding Network to rescue the turtles and move them to different wildlife recovery centers, including SeaWorld Orlando in Florida. Thirty five turtles were flown on a C-130J aircraft to Florida, where they will be spending the winter season recuperating from hypothermia.

Of the 35 turtles, 20 are Kemp's Ridley turtles and the rest are loggerheads that weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. Both the species of turtles have been listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Although turtles are cold-blooded animals, they also suffer from infections when the temperatures drop during winter. Every day, staff from the medical center warm the turtles for five degrees until their body temperature reaches more than 70 degrees, according to the report in Boston.com.

It is not yet known when the turtles will be returned home. A spokeswoman for SeaWorld Orlando said that the turtles' return will depend on how well they are recovering.

"Our goal is always to return animals back to their natural environment," the spokeswoman for SeaWorld Orlando told ABC News. "Really it just depends on how they're doing. We evaluate them, we have our team with them all the time."

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