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New England seeing a huge spike in beached sea turtles

March 28, 2019

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — The number of sea turtles washing up on New England beaches has spiked significantly, many stunned and unable to escape the region’s cooling winter waters.

A Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary says beachings of Kemp’s ridley, loggerhead and green sea turtles on Cape Cod have nearly doubled since 2016 to 829 and are 10 times higher than a decade ago.

The turtles are attracted to the North Atlantic’s warming waters in summer and get trapped because Cape Cod blocks them from moving south when waters cool in the fall.

Many rescued turtles suffer from compromised immune systems and pneumonia due to hypothermia, which occurs when turtles are exposed to cold water for prolonged periods.