On Monday, December 14, Georgia Aquarium welcomed four new temporary residents: cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtles. This endangered species was flown in from New England to stay in Georgia Aquarium’s care for an extended period of time until they are able to safely return to the ocean.
The four loggerhead sea turtles in the care of Georgia Aquarium are juveniles and weigh between 20 and 50 pounds. Georgia Aquarium’s team of aquarists and veterinarians will monitor them regularly behind-the-scenes, provide feedings, and any veterinary care they may need. Organizations like NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine when they can be released back into the ocean, most likely off the coast of Florida where the weather is warmer.
This season, hundreds of cold-stunned turtles were rescued off the coast of New England due to cold weather. The chilly temperatures happen so quickly that turtles are unable to swim to warmer waters fast enough and become cold-stunned. They can suffer from hypothermia causing them to become lethargic affecting their diets and overall health.
Georgia Aquarium is proud to offer a temporary home and important care to these rescued animals and work in this multi-institutional effort alongside other zoos, aquariums, and rescue organizations to save hundreds of turtles.
Loggerhead sea turtles are found all over the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Indian Oceans, Mediterranean Sea, the northern Gulf of Mexico through the Bahama Islands, and the Antilles. Full-grown loggerhead sea turtles can weigh up to 350 pounds and reach 3 feet long.