WELLFLEET, Mass. — Rapidly dropping temperatures have caused a high number of endangered sea turtles to wash ashore dead on Cape Cod beaches.
Thirty Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles — the most endangered sea turtles in the world — have been reported on the beaches since Thursday. Nineteen were dead.
Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium in Boston, called this year’s mortality rate “way off the charts.”
Sea turtles suffering from hypothermia often wash ashore between Halloween and mid-December.
When the animals’ heart rate and body temperature falls, they become immobile. Winds blow them to shore, where they risk freezing to death.
Volunteers walk the beaches to look for the stranded turtles, which are brought to the New England Aquarium, where workers try to bring up their body temperature.