FWC, partners rescue cold-stunned sea turtles
Friday, December 17, 2010
Media contact: Carli Segelson, 727-896-8626
Recent cold temperatures in Florida left many
cold-stunned sea turtles close to death, floating listlessly in the
water. Working with staff from county, state and federal agencies
as well as volunteers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) biologists helped to coordinate the rescue of
hundreds of sea turtles this week.
Rescuers pulled more than 250 stunned turtles from
the frigid waters. The majority of the rescues took place in the
Cape Canaveral area of Brevard County. However, rescues also took
place in Indian River, Gulf and Pinellas counties.
Most of the sea turtles affected by the recent cold
weather in Florida are green turtles, with smaller numbers of
loggerheads and Kemp's ridleys, as well as one hawksbill turtle.
FWC biologists predict the majority of the affected turtles will
The FWC and its partners worked together to pick up
the turtles and transport them to places where they can recover
from the cold shock. Sea turtle rehabilitation facilities
throughout the state are housing these animals until they can be
released when temperatures warm.
When the water temperature drops, stunned sea
turtles may float listlessly in the water or wash onto shore.
Although these turtles may appear to be dead, they are often still
alive. However, in this listless condition, they are especially
vulnerable to further impacts from the weather and may become prey
With temperatures increasing, biologists are
hopeful that, for now, turtles will no longer be in need of
Stranded sea turtles and all other distressed
wildlife should be reported to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at