- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Officials at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are treating 14 sea turtles that had been stranded along the coast of Massachusetts.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, an endangered species, were suffering from hypothermia, zoo officials said Monday.

The turtles are cold-blooded and follow the warmer Gulf Stream waters up to Cape Cod each year and then migrate south once the waters off Massachusetts cool. But a cold front in September helped to disorient some turtles, which were then stranded in waters that became too cold for them to survive.

The turtles were brought in from the New England Aquarium in Boston, which already has rescued some 900 sea turtles this year, zoo officials said.

“We reached out to help the New England Aquarium handle the large numbers of hypothermic sea turtles with medical care and rehabilitation,” said Josie Romasko, the PPG Aquarium’s aquarist.

Aquarium workers have placed the turtles in a lukewarm freshwater tank and have been monitoring their ability to move about and swim as their body temperatures rise. Normal body temperature for the turtles is 78 degrees.

When the turtles suffer from hypothermia, they become lethargic and sometimes float in the ocean and are washed to shore by waves.

The Pittsburgh turtles will likely remain at the zoo for six to nine months before being returned to the ocean.

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