Georgia rescue center offers symbolic adoption program to rehabilitate cold-stunned turtles

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. — There’s still a long winter ahead, but not everyone enjoys a little nip in the air or the water. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center helps heal turtles that took a cold plunge and now need a little TLC.

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Not all of Santa’s helpers are elves though. Some, like Rachael Overmeyer, wear scrubs and pass out treats to turtles, who had a rough start to life.

Some of the latest deliveries to the center were Kemp Ridley turtles that were a Thanksgiving delivery from Cape Cod, where ocean waters were too cold for them to thrive. So, a sleigh of sorts flew them in to be cared for and rehabilitated.

“Once we get them back up to normal temperature range, depending on their injuries or illness, we’ll then go ahead and start them on antibiotics that they may need and start feeding them, because a lot of times, these guys haven’t eaten in a while,” explained Overmeyer.

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It won’t be milk and cookies, but it will be just what they need to get ready to go back to the wild. The process takes several months. In the meantime, turtles at the center help out their cause with visitors to the center.

“They will be part of our symbolic adopt-a-patient program that we have here at the Sea Turtle Center, which make great holiday gifts for, you know, friends and family,” said Overmeyer.

Adopters will get updates on their turtle’s journey all the way through release. The money given helps fund their care and the care of other turtles, which is an excellent gift to help and heal.

“They’re a huge health indicator for the world’s oceans,” said Overmeyer. “So, if you know that your sea turtles aren’t doing well, then that’s an indicator that other species are not doing well either.”

If you’re interested in adoption, CLICK HERE.