NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

Cold stuns turtles off NC beaches. Volunteers work to find them before it’s too late

When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, volunteers on the barrier islands go on alert, the Ocracoke Observer reports.

When the ocean temperature drops too much during the winter, volunteers with the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles watch the beaches and sound along the Outer Banks as much as they can, the Observer reports. They hope to find the stunned sea turtles before it’s too late and get them to a sea turtle rescue facility to warm up, according to the newspaper.

The cold water can stun sea turtles and the endangered mammals can die if they don’t warm up, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It is very cold on Hatteras today,” Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation wrote on Facebook Monday. The organization shared a video of a turtle found by a volunteer. “This sea turtle is the only one that I know of to be found alive today. It’s just getting too cold.”

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