Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is excited to welcome the Sea Turtle Recovery (STR) to the list of new exhibits and partnerships on zoo grounds. Increased sea turtle strandings in the Northeast Region of the United States has caused several facilities to reach capacity throughout the year.  With this occurring, it does not leave available space for New Jersey’s stranded sea turtles that need critical treatment, and it also puts a heavy burden on the Southeast Region to facilitate the influx. Sea Turtle Recovery was created to help these turtles in need.

In 2014, more than 700 live sea turtles washed ashore in the Northeast. Just six years ago, the five-year average (2006-2010) was 152 cold-stunned sea turtles. Eight facilities in the region have the capacity to care for cold stunned or injured sea turtles.

All five species of sea turtles found in the Atlantic Ocean are threatened or endangered. They face many threats including fishing line entanglement, plastic ingestion, boat strikes, and are losing natural nesting and feeding sites because of coastal development.

At Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, a modern 4,000-square-foot facility was built to support this partnership. 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.

Now is the time to help these endangered and threatened species. Please go to, and follow Sea Turtle Recovery on Facebook to find out about the new nonprofit at the zoo and ways to help!

Sea Turtle Recovery (STR) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit 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.

STR is dedicated to the rehabilitation, preservation and conservation of Sea Turtles.  STR’s goal is to rehabilitate sick or injured Sea Turtles for their release back to the wild. The Sea Turtle Recovery will also educate the public on the important ecological role of sea turtles, threats endangering them, and ways to protect their future.