Jan 7, 2022
Endangered sea turtles stranded in the chilly waters of Cape Cod are being flown to safety thanks to the volunteer efforts of Turtles Fly Too.
The Idaho-based nonprofit transports the Kemp ridley sea turtles. They are the tiniest sea turtles and the most endangered among six US species. The group flies them by planes from the waters off Cape Cod. The turtles are taken to the warmer waters of Texas’s Gulf Coast. Some go to aquariums and a turtle hospital in the Florida Keys. There, they can be nursed back to health. Pilots from across the US offer their planes. Pilots from the US, Canada, England, and France have flown hundreds of the turtles to safety.
Turtles Fly Too also partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The groups work together to teach people about the cause.
Climate change has warmed the Cape Cod waters earlier each year. They remain warmer into the fall. So, the young turtles stay in the shallows of Cape Cod Bay longer. But then, the waters quickly decrease in temperature. That causes hypothermia-like conditions in the turtles. The turtles then can't to swim to warmer waters. Thousands of them die.
Ed Filangeri is a part-time pilot. He volunteers to fly the turtles from Massachusetts to a Baltimore aquarium. “We do what’s necessary,” Filangeri told the magazine bioGraphic. “We are the turtle movers. You can’t put a value on one Kemp’s life.”
Photo from Turtles Fly Too.
"A Hui Hou"
This environmental mural by Hawai'ian artist Kai Kaulukukui depicts a green sea turtle tangled in fishing lines and plastic, while a child swims beside attempting to help it.
This mural of a human inside the body of a turtle was created in Mexico by Paola Delfín.
Will the Ocean Ever Run Out of Fish?
This resource describes the current state of fish populations in the oceans and the industrial fishing practices that have lead to the critical state of fish stocks globally.