FT. MACON — Nearly 90 sea turtles will receive a new shot at life today as they are shipped 50 or so miles off the North Carolina coast and dropped into the warm waters of the gulf stream.
The turtles had been rehabbing at a variety of aquariums and turtle facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Many of them had been rescued after being found in a "cold-stunned" state, victims of the recent cold snap. When water temperatures dip below 50 degrees, turtles are susceptible to the condition, which is akin to hypothermia.
The turtles were loaded this morning onto the Coast Guard cutter Block Island, which was set to transport them to the gulf stream, where water temperatures can exceed 70 degrees.
Although most turtles migrate east and south as winter approaches, some get caught behind, said Eric Anderson, an N.C. State veterinarian who made the journey out to sea with the turtles.
"Some of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.