Frozen Sea Turtles Wash Ashore

A large amount of these marine creatures have appeared dead on beaches.

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Valerie Rasmussen

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Frozen Sea Turtles Wash Ashore

Over the course of last week, at least 219 turtles washed ashore on beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with 173 of them dying or dead according to the Guardian. This number is much higher than what is typically seen. The turtles appeared to have been ‘flash-frozen,’ likely due to the unusually cold weather.

Sea turtles migrate often, they move from foraging and nesting grounds, but they also migrate seasonally to head towards warmer waters. However, recent climate changes have begun to cause some adjustments in their normal patterns.

“Sea turtles are moving further north along our coast or south to the southern hemisphere as waters are warming and they are expanding their ranges,” said Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at California Academy of Sciences and sea turtle biologist, in an interview with NBC. “So when we get these quick swings from warm to cooler, the turtles that haven’t made it south definitely get into trouble.”

“I feel really bad for them,” junior Zoe Johnson said. “They didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Sea turtles face many dangerous threats in the wild. When they are young, they are easy prey for predators because they do not have many defensive abilities to help them fend off attackers and they are a simple meal for many different kinds of animals, both on land and in the water.

Additionally, they are often the victims of human interactions. Some of the most dangerous threats they are faced with are becoming entangled in fishing gear, as well as poaching and illegal trade of their eggs, meat and shells, according to SEETurtles.org.

Worldwide, six out of seven species of sea turtles are currently classified as threatened or endangered, according to SEETurtles.org. The large death toll of these creatures is a sad loss to the already vulnerable population.

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