Rare stranded turtles ride ferry
CAPE MAY – The most endangered turtle worldwide and a fellow turtle hitched free rides last week aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry with rescuers after being stranded along the Jersey Shore.
A Kemps Ridley turtle — rarest in the world and the most endangered of all turtles — and an endangered green sea turtle recently were escorted to the warmer waters of Virginia by Marine Mammal Stranding Center staff in Brigantine. They are endangered because their species are killed in the Caribbean for turtle meat, eggs and outer shells.
Bob Schoelkopf, founding director of the nonprofit stranding center, said the two turtles were recently caught in intake pipes at the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Forked River. He said the turtles are among a half-dozen types of turtles rescued at that location this year.
« This time of year it’s critical to the turtles’ survival to move into warmer water. They become lethargic in cold water … and often die, » he said.
Cape May-Lewes Ferry operations director Heath Gehrke said it is a privilege for the ferry to play a continuing role in helping these turtles reach safer waters.