Here on Long Island, the largest ecosystem around is most certainly the Atlantic Ocean. The flora and fauna that live in its vast offshore waters are diverse and beautiful. In this expansive environment, one of the favorites are the sea turtles! Some are small, others grow longer than an adult human, but all are important for a healthy ocean and necessary for a balanced ecosystem.
Turtles, like many other animals, migrate annually. When the water in the North Atlantic begins to get cold, they begin to swim south to warmer waters and more bountiful food reservoirs. For thousands of years this has occurred during early to mid-November, when the waters naturally cool in a slow and predictable manner. However, due to climate change, in recent years, this change has been delayed and not gradual. This unfortunately leads to turtles sticking around longer, and then when the temperature drops precipitously out of nowhere, many turtles go into shock and are unable to orient themselves or swim properly, and often drift out to sea where the likely perish.
If they are fortunate enough not to drift to sea, they wash to shore. While still lost and disoriented, this provides them with their best chance of survival, because we as humans can rescue them! However, if you find a turtle stranded on the beach, do not attempt to handle them. Please, note in detail their location and call the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline, (631) 369-9829. These professionals will come and rescue the turtle without causing it harm. For more information, check out the NOAA website!