Sea Turtle Recovery

Sea Turtle Recovery

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is excited to welcome the Sea Turtle Recovery Center to the list of new exhibits and partnerships on zoo grounds. The new facility will be used to nurse cold-stunned or injured sea turtle back to health before they are released back into the wild. Constructed with generous contributions from Prudential, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, PSE&B and Matrix Development Group, the facility helps fulfill the zoo’s mission of conserving and protecting the environment and complements its educational activities.

All five species of sea turtles found in the Atlantic Ocean are threatened by fishing line entanglement, plastic ingestion and boat strikes, and are losing natural nesting and feeding sites because of coastal development. Sea turtle strandings in the Northeast Region of the United States is on the rise. In 2014, more than 700 live sea turtles washed ashore in the Northeast, which is up dramatically from just six years ago when the average was 152 cold-stunned sea turtles. This increase has caused several rehabilitation facilities to reach capacity, does not leave available space for New Jersey’s stranded sea turtles that need critical treatment, and puts a heavy burden on the Southeast Region to facilitate the influx.

A modern 4,000-square-foot facility was built at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo to address this need. The new building has five recovery tanks, life support systems, and an intensive care unit for more critically injured turtles. Zoo visitors will be able to see less critical patients while learning about the perils sea turtles face and what the public can do to help. Once the turtles have regained their health, they will be released back into their natural habitat.

The zoo is partnering with the non-profit Sea Turtle Recovery to care for the sea turtles.

Sea Turtle Recovery (STR) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the rehabilitation, preservation and conservation of sea turtles. Its current work extends throughout the state educating the public about the ecological role of sea turtles, threats they face, and ways to protect their future.

Now, with the building donation of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, the Sea Turtle Recovery can begin to fulfill the other portion of its mission to rehabilitate sea turtles for release back into the wild.

More about the Sea Turtle Recovery, their efforts, and how to donate to the sea turtles’ care can be found by visiting To contact Sea Turtle Recovery at the Zoo call #973-731-5800 x290

Turtle Back Zoo