Cape Cod’s extreme winter temperatures cause hundreds of sea turtles to die

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Cape Cod’s extreme winter temperatures cause hundreds of sea turtles to die

Ben Thyng examines cold stunned sea turtle.

Ben Thyng examines cold stunned sea turtle.

Steve Heaslip The Cape Cod Times

Ben Thyng examines cold stunned sea turtle.

Steve Heaslip The Cape Cod Times

Steve Heaslip The Cape Cod Times

Ben Thyng examines cold stunned sea turtle.

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On Nov. 21, approximately 173 sea turtles were found dead off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. According to Audubon Director Bob Prescott, the deaths were caused by the sudden drop in temperature of the water.

Since the turtles were found in Cape Cod, Mass Audubon, a non-profit organization that patrols the Massachusetts’ beaches, attempted to recover 227 turtles from the Gulf of Maine and revived them from a cold-stunned state. Of the 227, only 54 survived.

“This was way too cold. Everything was slushy by yesterday morning. Some of them are small. It didn’t take long for them to freeze,” Prescott said.

The sea turtles migrate to areas where they will be able to find a food source and a warm place to give birth. Prescott believes the reason for the turtles’ deaths this year is global warming. Areas that were previously frozen, preventing turtles from migrating, have now become warm enough for the turtles to enter.

“The Gulf of Maine prior to 2010 was too cold for sea turtles to come into,” he said.