(NECN: Scot Yount, Quincy, Massachusetts) - Endangered sea turtles, stunned by the cold of winter, wash up on beaches up and down New England. The lucky ones end up at the New England Aquarium.
But this year, the number of sea turtles washing up has doubled. For some reason, they didn't swim south in time.
"We're not certain why so many turtles stranded this fall," said Connie Merigo, the director of the Rescue and Rehab program at the aquarium.
In all, the aquarium will drive 46 turtles down to Florida for release, with the help of some other facilities. The turtles - mostly Kemp's Ridley, Loggerhead, and Greens - have all been nursed back to health.
"They were all cold stun turtles, and each facility has done their therapy and their care, and now they are ready to go back to the wild," Merigo said. "It's very much a big win."
Aquarium experts say there are many factors that harm turtles, including common household items that end up where they don't belong.
"Whether it is reusable bags at the grocery store, recycling, trying to cut down the amount of trash your family generates, all of those things affect the amount of trash that goes in the ocean, which directly affects sea turtles," Merigo said.
The bottom line is, lots of work goes into keeping these endangered creatures alive, and the experts at the aquarium appreciate all the help they can get.
"This is what we work for. You know, again, these are endangered species, and every turtle that gets back in the wild that has the potential to contribute to the population is really important," said Merigo.