NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher's Program Provides 5 Types of Endangered Sea Turtles Care

By / Life on the Island / Monday, 19 December 2016 05:00

Kure Beach, N.C. — Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher are caring for five endangered sea turtles. The Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were injured in a cold-stunning event along the Massachusetts’s coast in late November.
The Aquarium’s animal care team is providing the turtles with medical treatment and close monitoring. The animals are beginning to feed and are receiving antibiotics. Initial rehabilitation plans estimate shorter recuperation times, likely a few weeks depending on individual progress, with releases into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. The turtles range in size from four to seven pounds.
Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunning can occur when water temperatures drop quickly to below 50 degrees. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore.
“While we’re not a sea turtle rescue facility, our staff has the expertise to assist when the need arises and help save these animals,” Julie Johnson.
The Aquarium, while not a traditional rehabilitation center, collaborates yearly with wildlife organizations and other aquariums to offer space and resources to care for cold-stunned sea turtles. The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the sea turtles may contact (910) 772-0500 or visit
Cold stunning can occur along the North Carolina coast as well. Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.
About the Aquarium - The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located south of Kure Beach, a short drive south from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Aquarium is one of three state aquariums in North Carolina administered by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR). General information:
 The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of only 230 accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a non-profit organization dedicated to the highest standards in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. In addition, the Aquarium is an AZA partner in SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction. More on AZA:
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources - The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship.
For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit 


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