15 DECEMBER 2022 — As temperatures start to drop across Atlantic Canada, danger increases for the juvenile endangered sea turtles still in our region. Sometimes these young turtles find themselves in water that is too cold for them. They become “cold stunned”— dangerously lethargic or sometimes hypothermic — when there is a sudden change in water temperature, like when the warm water current they were swimming in unexpectedly breaks apart. These sea turtles are then vulnerable to being thrown up on our shores by a storm or strong tide. If they are lucky, these cold-stunned turtles are found alive and can be rehabilitated under the careful eye of a trained veterinarian.

For our neighbours to the south, this is a large event, with over five hundred turtles already found in Massachusetts this season. These numbers have dramatically increased over the past few decades and may be an indicator of what is to come for the Maritimes.

The Canadian Sea Turtle Network (CSTN) has organized a Sea Turtle Beach Patrol since 2016. Volunteers have found cold-stunned loggerhead, green and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles along the shores of both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The CSTN is actively recruiting volunteer members of the public with access to beaches along the coastlines of New Brunswick to join the Patrol. Volunteers walk a beach of their choosing once a week to search for these turtles until the end of January. The CSTN is aware that many Nature NB members spend time along the shorelines looking for and at birds. The Sea Turtle Beach Patrol is hopeful that these members are willing to commit to looking down as well as up. If you are interested in joining our Sea Turtle Beach Patrol, please email hello@seaturtle.ca.

The CSTN is a charitable environmental organization based in Halifax that has been working to conserve endangered sea turtles in Canadian waters and beyond since 1998. Please visit www.seaturtle.ca to learn more about our work.

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