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About 190 sea turtles found frozen near Cape Cod

About 190 sea turtles found frozen near Cape Cod
© mass audubon wildlife

Nearly 190 sea turtles were reportedly found frozen to death off the coast of Cape Cod on Friday after frigid conditions stifled their ability to safely swim to shore.

Bob Prescott, the director of the Mass Audubon wildlife, told NBC News that the migrating turtles were unable to make it to shore after they became “incapacitated” by bone-chilling temperatures, a high tide and “gale force winds.”

“A lot of the turtles were found frozen in the water still,” Prescott continued. “I picked up two to three myself that were still in the water, the slushy water.” 

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While Prescott maintained that the organization has yet to facilitate tests to determine the turtle’s exact cause of death, he confirmed the turtles did “essentially freeze.”

Prescott said his wildlife organization has discovered more than 400 dead turtles this season.

According to the report, researchers say the timing of the animals’ migration has increased their chances of freezing. Sea turtles reportedly used to come to near Cape Cod in October during the 1990s, but now the animals have been arriving in the area in November when the water is significantly more chilly.

“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,” Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at California Academy of Sciences and sea turtle biologist, told NBC News.

“So when we get these quick swings from warm to cooler, the turtles that haven’t made it south definitely get into trouble,” he added.

Recent conservation efforts have reportedly helped allow the sea turtle population to stabilize. However, altering temperatures have reportedly been making it more difficult for the animals to prepare for the weather.

“Climate change is impacting sea turtles very clearly,” Nichols told NBC News, while also adding that “cooked” turtle eggs caused by warmer waters have also had an effect on the animal’s migration patterns.

The news arrives on the heels of a report released Friday that warned current global and regional efforts to stave off the devastating effects of climate change are insufficient.