New Jersey

Sea Turtle Hospital Comes to New Jersey's Turtle Back Zoo

A New Jersey zoo is adding a hospital for injured or sick sea turtles that need long-term care.

Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange is partnering with the group Sea Turtle Recovery to add the hospital.

Its goal is to nurse turtles back to health before returning them to the ocean.

"It is estimated that only 1 in 10,000 sea turtles will make it to adulthood and every sea turtle's life is important to the species survival," said Brandi Biehl, one of the group's leaders. "I cannot express how it will feel to watch our first patients crawl back into the ocean to thrive."

An antiquated building was demolished earlier this year at Turtle Back Zoo to make room for the new 4,000-square-foot facility, which is under construction.

It will have five recovery tanks, life support systems, and an intensive care unit with an on-site surgical facility or more critically injured turtles.

The public will be able to see some of the less-critical patients, while learning about the perils sea turtles face.

These include fishing line entanglement, plastic ingestion, and boat strikes. They also are losing natural nesting and feeding sites because of coastal development.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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