TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - More than 1,000 sea turtles stunned by unusually cold weather have been rescued from waters off Florida's Panhandle.
U.S. Geological Survey sea turtle expert Margaret Lamont tells The Tampa Bay Times that cold-stunned sea turtles began appearing in St. Joseph Bay in early January as freezing temperatures gripped the region.
Lamont says many of the stunned animals are juvenile green turtles, along with some Kemp's ridleys, one hawksbill and a few loggerheads. Kemp's and hawksbills are listed as endangered species.
When temperatures drop below 50 degrees the turtles become unable to swim or lift their heads above the water to breathe, and can drown.
So volunteers pluck the turtles from the water or shore, and send them to Gulf World Marine Park for rehabilitation.