During particularly cold winters, like the 2013-2014 season, sea turtles swimming near the coast can get cold stunned - the equivalent of hypothermia. When this happens, they wash up on North Carolina beaches, too exhausted to swim or eat. Park rangers find the turtles and transfer them to aquariums where they spend 1-3 months in rehabilitation. When the turtles are healthy again, researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNCW transport them to warm waters near the Gulf Stream.
This endeavor is made possible by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, UNCW-CMS, UNC-IMS, CMAST-NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore and the North Carolina aquariums. The hard bottom reef research is supported by funding from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Video filmed and produced by Mary Lide Parker
Music by Josh Woodward