See These Sea Turtles

If you’ve ever participated in a polar plunge at the Jersey Shore, you know just how cold the ocean can get.

If you’ve ever participated in a polar plunge at the Jersey Shore, you know just how cold the ocean can get. So you can imagine how it feels to a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle that has failed to migrate south before the temperatures fall. The reptiles become “cold-stunned,” weakening with their loss of appetite and ultimately washing ashore with little or no help in sight. Until now.

The Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange recently opened the Sea Turtle Recovery Unit to nurse the sick and injured sea turtles back to health with the goal of releasing them again in the wild. The unit had 10 sea turtles in its care in midMarch; in February, it released one in Florida.

Now, you can see these turtles up close and personal. Zoo visitors can check out the new exhibit, watching the turtles rehabbing from a viewing room and educational center. And the zoo’s director, Brint Spencer, thinks they’ll be a real draw. “Sea turtles are about as cute a reptile as they get, so it will have a lot of public appeal,” he says.

Categories: Morris/Essex Health & Life