Four sea turtles returned to ocean after months of rehabilitative care at the New England Aquarium

Turtles satellite tagged to track movement, study further

Green sea turtle A satellite-tagged green sea turtle enters Nantucket Sound. CREDIT: Vanessa Kahn/New England Aquarium

WEST DENNIS, MASS. (July 25, 2023) – Following months of rehabilitative care at the New England Aquarium, four rescued sea turtles are back in their ocean home after being released Tuesday night off Cape Cod.


A small crowd watched from West Dennis Beach as the three green sea turtles and one Kemp’s ridley, a critically endangered species, crawled across the sand and into Nantucket Sound. The animals spent more than eight months at the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy, MA, undergoing treatment for hypothermia-related conditions including pneumonia, dehydration, and trauma, a result of being unable to regulate their body temperature in the cold waters of Cape Cod Bay in the fall. As part of their work protecting ocean animals and habitats, Aquarium scientists will be tracking and studying the movement of the three green turtles using satellite tags, which provide valuable information about where the turtles swim, feed, and travel.

During the 2022 cold-stunning season, the Aquarium treated 518 live sea turtles that were rescued from the shores of Cape Cod by staff and volunteers from Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. There are 13 turtles remaining at the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, most of which that are expected be released off Cape Cod later in the summer after completing rehabilitation.

In keeping with this year’s turtle-naming theme of pasta and noodles, the group released Tuesday night included Rotini, Cavatappi, Cavatelli, and Chitarra. More details on the turtles:

  • “Cavatelli” (#113)
    • Stranded Nov. 18, 2022 in Eastham, MA.
    • Species: Green
    • This turtle had a heart rate of just three beats per minute upon intake at the Aquarium’s facility.The turtle responded well to routine prophylactic and supportive care treatments.
  • “Cavatappi” (#211)
    • Stranded Nov. 21, 2022 on Nantucket, MA.
    • Species: Green
    • During rehabilitation, Cavatappi presented with mild lameness in the left front flipper with X-rays showing changes to the humerus bone in that flipper. The turtle responded well to treatment with antibiotics and pain medication with resolution of the lameness along with bone improvement on radiographs.
  • “Chitarra” (#433)
    • Stranded Dec. 2, 2022 in Wellfleet, MA.
    • Species: Green
    • The turtle responded well to routine prophylactic and supportive care treatments. Chitarra arrived to the Aquarium weighing 3.7kg, and upon release gained 2.1 kg thanks to a nutritious diet regimen, which includes veggies.
  • “Rotini” (#751)
    • Stranded Dec. 14, 2022 in Provincetown, MA.
    • Species: Kemp’s ridley
    • This turtle began its rehabilitation journey at the National Marine Life Center in Bourne, MA before being transferred to the Aquarium. The turtle had bacterial sepsis and a severe bone infection of the shell that was treated with multiple systemic and topical treatments. Over time, the sepsis resolved and the abnormal bone was debrided as underlying healthy tissue had formed.


Pam Bechtold Snyder—617-686-5068;