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"Cold Stunned" Turtles Get NASA Rescue

January 14, 2010— NASA and Florida conservationists joined forces to rescue endangered sea turtles "cold stunned" by record-breaking cold temperatures along the Sunshine State's coast. © 2010 National Geographic; Video courtesy NASA


Unedited Transcript

With record-breaking cold temperatures in Florida this week , efforts to save tropical sea turtles on the beaches are paying off.

Beginning last week when the cold snap began, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center teamed up with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as well as other rescue groups to remove green and loggerhead turtles. Kennedy is home to the Merritt Island National Refuge.

The turtles were ‘cold-stunned.’ This happens when water temperatures go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The turtles become sluggish and lethargic when their body temperatures plunge in the cold.

More than 270 endangered turtles were identified and taken to facilities in the area with warmer environments.

The animals were all measured, weighed and checked for any medical problems.

Once the weather warms, they will be released back into Kennedy’s Mosquito Lagoon, or the Indian River.

Cold-stunning last happened in Florida more than 20 years ago, in 1989.