Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DRC Helping Sea Turtles in Crisis!

DRC Team members Adam and Ted carefully transfer a rescued turtle from the boat to a wheelbarrow.

The recent prolonged cold snap in the Florida Keys has directly impacted many local species. Unlike dolphins and sea lions, who are protected by their blubber layer and can thermoregulate their body temperature, cold blooded animals like sea turtles can get stunned by severely cold water temperatures.

Countless sea turtles all over Florida are suffering. Here in the Keys, fishermen began reporting that turtles were floating on the ocean’s surface. In a short period of time, over 50 had already been transported to Marathon’s Turtle Hospital.

Dolphin Research Center is doing our part to help these critters in crisis. We are working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife turtle biologist and the Marathon Turtle Hospital. When a report is called in that an affected turtle has been spotted in the waters around Grassy Key, we dispatch a crew on our manatee rescue boat to find and rescue the animal. Often, the crew spots other turtles along the way. This happened Tuesday when they went out to pick up a single loggerhead turtle but returned with three loggerheads and one green turtle.

Team members kept the turtles as warm as possible during the boat ride back to DRC.

The team brought the turtles on shore and prepared to transport them to the Marathon Turtle Hospital.

As of this writing, we’ve already brought in four additional turtles and the crew was heading back out for more. After bringing them safely back to DRC, we carefully transport the turtles by truck or turtle ambulance to the Marathon Turtle Hospital. At the hospital, staff and volunteers are providing care around the clock to warm up and revive the turtles.

The good news is that the cold snap is ending and temperatures are already beginning to warm up. Once it is safe to do so, all of the turtles that can be released will be taken back to the ocean and their natural environment.


The DRC Family said...

The water temps are warming up so the Turtle Hospital and FWC have been able to release many of the turtles. DRC crew assisted with the release of loggerhead turtles on Friday and Hawksbill turtles on Saturday!