Skip to the content

turtles cold-stunned in New England needed help

In 2014

Hundreds of pilots from all over the United States offered their airplanes. Pilots from Canada, England, and France called, offering to copilot a flight if needed. The recipients of the goodwill? The sea turtles of Massachusetts, stranded on Cape Cod beaches after a bitter cold snap.

During what’s known as the “cold-stun season” when water temperatures drop and turtles’ body temperatures fall below acceptable limits, turtles in the Greater Atlantic region are picked up by the Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and brought to the New England Aquarium for initial medical care. After being stabilized they’re transported – usually by ground, sometimes by air – to rehabilitation facilities both in New England and farther south. But this particular year, at the start of the season, the New England Aquarium was already overwhelmed. They had hit their emergency capacity, 80 turtles, within the first three days according to Kate Sampson, the Sea Turtle Stranding Coordinator for NOAA. She turned to Leslie Weinstein, founder and manager of True-Lock, an aviation fastener company with extensive ties to the general aviation community.