CARTERET COUNTY - Turtle #106 along with six other of its friends are being kept warm at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium in Carteret County. They are not from local beaches. The five loggerheads and 2 Kemp's ridleys were rescued in Cape Cod Bay which is more than 500 miles away.
"Most of these turtles, once the water temperatures start to get colder their instinct is to head south, but if you head south in Cape Cod Bay, you're going to run into Cape Cod," said the aquarium's conservation research coordinator, Wendy Cluse.
The New England Aquarium in Boston rescued a record 223 turtles from the cold waters.
"They have larger tanks so they can put multiple turtles in one tank. The numbers on their shells is just an easy way for anyone to identify them," said Cluse.
The turtles will be kept in 70° water until the aquarium veterinarians give them a clean bill of health to be taken to the Gulf Stream.
"Most of them are doing really well. They're off of their antibiotics already. We hope that they will get released within the next couple of weeks," said Cluse.
The antibiotics prevent pneumonia and other infections that often occur in cold-stunned turtles. Keeping the older turtles healthy is crucial for the growth of the species.
"These turtles are bigger and they're much closer to being adult turtles at reproductive maturity so it's important to make sure they are able to survive," said Cluse.
The turtles will call North Carolina home until give the green light to return to the Gulf Stream.
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