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A ‘turtle taxi’ helps with the rescue and rehab of these sea turtles off NC

‘Turtle taxi’ helps with the release of sea turtles off NC

The U.S. Coast Guard and conservation groups helped release 14 sea turtles back into the ocean after many of them were rehabilitated in North Carolina.
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The U.S. Coast Guard and conservation groups helped release 14 sea turtles back into the ocean after many of them were rehabilitated in North Carolina.

Fourteen sea turtles returned to the ocean on Sunday thanks to help from conservation groups and the U.S. Coast Guard, who used a “turtle taxi” to transport them.

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Nine Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles who were cold-stunned when the water turned frigid to the north in the New England area were brought to North Carolina for rehabilitation. Along with the nine Kemp’s Ridley turtles were one loggerhead and one green sea turtle who were also rehabilitated in North Carolina, according to a Facebook post from the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

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A sea turtle packed carefully in a container with a blanket on its way to be released back into the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard and conservation groups. P. Gannon, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Cold stunning is a hypothermic reaction that happens when sea turtles are exposed to cold water over a long period of time. Spending time in cold water is a recipe for disaster for the cold-blooded turtles, which can experience decreased heart rate and circulation, lethargy, shock, pneumonia and even death, according to NOAA.

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Members of the U.S. Coast Guard work together to lift a sea turtle from the “turtle taxi” so it can be released back into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. P. Gannon, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Along with those 11 turtles were three young loggerheads who had been educational ambassadors at North Carolina aquariums.

The turtles were transported in containers — including a large black container emblazoned with yellow letters that spell out “Turtle Taxi” on its side — that are pulled on wheeled carts.

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The “turtle taxi” used by conservation groups and the U.S. Coast Guard to transport rehabilitated sea turtles back to the Atlantic Ocean. P. Gannon, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

The turtles were packed up with care, and covered with blankets and towels to keep them comfortable for the journey to Virginia.

When the turtles reached Virginia, they “hitched a ride out to warmer waters (70 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact) with the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Heron,” according to the aquarium. Members of the Coast Guard carefully unpacked and lowered the turtles into the ocean.

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Members of the U.S. Coast Guard carefully lower sea turtles into the Atlantic Ocean. P. Gannon, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

The Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, along with the aquarium and the Coast Guard worked together to rescue and reintroduce the turtles safely, according to the aquarium.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cushing out of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, helps release 27 rehabilitated sea turtles into Gulf Stream waters, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The sea turtles were rescued by North Carolina Aquarium crews after experien

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