Sea Turtles Looking for Pilots...Seriously!

  • Nov 25, 2014 12:07pm GMT

Cape Cod, Massachusetts-

Sea turtles normally found migrating south toward warmer waters have been stranding themselves in the hundreds on beaches in and around Cape Cod, MA. Possible warmers waters and strong offshore winds have been driving the sea turtles, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act, onshore.

Leslie Weinstein is a board member for the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida and has been working with state and federal officials to secure transport from the Air National Guard. She has also been working with Pilots N Paws and other volunteer groups to solicit help from general aviation pilots.

"As of yesterday, we've shipped 51 turtles so far," Weinstein said. "We have over 400 to go." Once the turtles are transported to an aquarium near a warmer site, they can't be released immediately, Weinstein said, but must first recover from their ordeal. Any pilots who would like to help can contact Weinstein by email, ( "Please put 'sea turtles' in the subject line," Weinstein said, "to be sure I open it right away." As of Saturday night, Weinstein said aquariums were volunteering to accept the turtles in Baltimore, North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, with more in the works.

UPDATE: May 19th, 1715PST

“I received over 1,000 emails from pilots hoping to volunteer,” says Leslie Weinstein. “The first two days I could not make any phone calls because of all the phone calls coming in.” Leslie Weinstein of Boise, Idaho, is the founder and manager of True-Lock, an aviation fastener company, and has extensive ties to the general aviation community.

“We ended up transporting about 550 animals,” says Kate Sampson, the Sea Turtle Stranding Coordinator for NOAA. “And almost all of them went on flights. We could not have done this without the general aviation community.

Special thanks to everyone who spread the word to helps save these guys. More updates can be found HERE