The New England Aquarium dragged in ailing sea turtles on Cape Cod that were “facing imminent death due to hypothermia,’’ according to Tony LaCasse, aquarium spokesman.

On Wednesday night, the 17 sea turtles were found and were recovered by volunteers at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary who combed miles of beach from Truro to Eastham.

The turtles were taken to the aquarium’s new animal care center in Quincy, where they will be treated for dehydration, hypothermia and malnourishment.

Turtle’s body temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s; they are supposed to be in the low- to mid-70s. Their body temperatures will be raised gradually, said LaCasse. Their temperatures should return to normal by Monday, he said.

The number of turtles that have been recovered since Oct. 20 rises to 41, LaCasse said. About 90% of the rescued sea turtles are of the Kemp’s ridley species, the most endangered and rarest sea turtle and the most affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. After the turtles recover, they will be released over the summer, he said, adding that rescued turtles have an 80 percent to 90 percent survival rate.


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