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Pittsburgh Zoo Caring For Sea Turtles Rescued Off Massachusetts Coast

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is providing emergency medical care for several sea turtles that recently became stranded off the coast of Massachusetts.

Zoo officials say the 14 Kemp's ridley sea turtles they are treating were suffering from hypothermia.

"They have not fed, most of them, for at least three weeks now," says Josianne Romasco of the aquarium. "So they have been pretty much sustaining themselves on the fluid therapy we've been giving them."

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.

However, a cold front in September disoriented some of the turtles, which were then stranded in waters that are too cold for them to survive.

The turtles come from the New England Aquarium, which has already rescued close to 900 turtles this year.

In a press release, PPG Aquarium Aquarist Josie Romasco says: "We reached out to help the New England Aquarium handle the large numbers of hypothermic sea turtles with medical care and rehabilitation at the PPG Aquarium. We brought back the Kemp's ridley turtles who were suffering from various degrees of hypothermia."

According to zoo officials, the turtles' conditions range from fair to severe. They are doing blood work, physical exams and radiographs in order to put in place plans to care for each of the animals.

Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, the zoo's director of animal care, says, "We hydrated all of the sea turtles as soon we could to prevent pneumonia or kidney disease from developing. We are also slowly warming them up so their temperature is back to normal at 78 degrees."

The turtles will remain in Pittsburgh for the next six to nine months and will then be released back into the area where they were rescued.

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