Wintry weather brings cold-stunned sea turtles in need of care

Published 7:40 am Sunday, December 25, 2022

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The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island has seen a sharp spike in cold-stunned turtles in recent days. As of mid-day Thursday, 73 turtles had been received for care at NCARI’s STAR Center – all but one from the preceding three days. The majority of turtles are green sea turtles, others are Kemp’s ridley.

NCARI explained how the coordinated effort to get sea turtles care happens: “It begins with N.E.S.T. volunteers on Hatteras Island that patrol the shores when the weather and wind are right to bring cold-stunned turtles to shore. After braving the cold conditions, the volunteers meet at a staging site, where turtles are measured and labeled before hitching a ride to the STAR Center.”

Those who spot a sea turtle on land this time of year should contact 252-216-6892 (National Park Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore) if on Hatteras Island or 252-441-8622 (N.E.S.T. Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) north of Oregon Inlet.

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To keep up with the latest happenings at the STAR Center, go to For information about donating to the North Carolina Aquarium Society, go to

For more information about N.E.S.T., visit Donations made to N.E.S.T. also support sea turtle response and rehabilitation.

Sea turtles in North Carolina are protected by the Endangered Species Act and managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island operates under NCWRC Sea Turtle Permit #22ST46. Network for Endangered Sea Turtles operates under NCWRC Sea Turtle Permit #22ST10.