On this day in 2001, the New York Times featured a story about some rather unfortunate visitors here on Cape Cod - stranded sea turtles. Each season, naturalist from the local sanctuaries and volunteers patrol the Cape's bay beaches looking for sea turtles who have remained in our area longer than they should have. The story begins:
The turtles, called Kemp's ridleys, are the world's rarest and most endangered sea turtles. Weighing 5 to 10 pounds, usually 2 to 3 years old and about the size of a big green dinner plate, they spend summers feeding on blue mussels and crabs in the warm bay. But in fall, when they should be swimming south, many fail to get out of the bay.
Robert Prescott, director of the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary, explained: ''When the fall weather turns cold and the water temperature dips below 50 degrees for a sustained period of time, they become so sluggish they can't leave the bay for warmer water. A strong northerly wind pushes them ashore.''...
Because sea turtles can die from the cold, naturalists say, the sooner they find the turtles, the better the chance of their survival. Once recovered, they ride -- often in the passenger seat of a naturalist's pickup truck -- to the sanctuary in Wellfleet. A saline solution is applied to their eyes; protective jelly is rubbed on the carapace to retain body heat; some are given fluid intravenously.
Read the full story here.
The slideshow below is from a Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary 2009 release of sea turtles that had been rescued in the winter and nursed back to health.