TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Saturday afternoon, Gulf World Marine Institute released cold stunned sea turtles off the beach in Cape Palms Park. Volunteers with the Florida Coastal Conservancy rescued hundreds of turtles at Saint Joe Bay during the last cold snap.
Jessica Swindall, the Volunteer Coordinator with Florida Coastal Conservancy says, "They trudge through the mud and the soggy grasses and look for any cold-stunned turtles that have washed up from the night before and then carry them back to an access point." Then, the Florida Coastal Conservancy places the lifeless sea turtles into tubs and delivers them to Gulf World Marine Institute
Once rehabilitation starts, it only takes a few days for the turtles to warm up, get proper fluids, and become active again. Florida Fish and Wildlife tells us, most of the rescues are young sea turtles who live in Saint Joe Bay. They monitor water temperatures and know when to start the search for cold-stunned turtles.
Allen Foley, Research Scientist with Florida Fish and Wildlife tells us, "They are good in water down to about 50 degrees, but when it gets below 50 degrees if they can't get out of that water, and they're in it for too long, they become less and less active. Foley adds, wildlife rehabilitation groups want to get floating turtles out of the water immediately before scavengers get to them.
The Florida Coastal Conservancy rescued 300 cold stunned turtles on Saint joe's bay the last 2 days. As hundreds of sea turtles swim back into their natural habitat, hundreds more are currently being rehabilitated to do the same.
If you want to help rescue sea turtles from a cold snap event, visit The Florida Coastal Conservancy website at www.floridacc.org