News Releases

Report, but do not touch, dead or distressed sea turtles

News Release

Friday, January 15, 2010

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 727-896-8626; Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

Amid chilling temperatures during Florida's recent cold snap, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to reports of thousands of stunned sea turtles floating listlessly in the water or washing onto shore over the past week.

Cold-stunned turtles may appear to be dead, but often they are still alive. The FWC urges people to report distressed or dead turtles to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) as soon as possible.

The FWC also pointed out it is illegal to possess a sea turtle or any part of the sea turtle, dead or alive.

"Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act," said Robbin Trindell, FWC sea turtle biologist. "Therefore, it is illegal to disturb them or to possess them."

The FWC, with its partners, worked together to pick up turtles disabled by the cold and transported them to staging areas and rehabilitation facilities where they could recover. As water temperatures rise, officials are releasing the animals back into the ocean.

"If a sea turtle is seen swimming back out to sea, it probably will be able to survive without human intervention," Trindell said. "But those that are floating or washing ashore should be reported immediately to the hotline at 888-404-3922."

For additional information about sea turtles or fish and wildlife research, visit

FWC Facts:
Coyotes began expanding their range into the Southeast in the 1960s, reaching northwestern Florida in the 1970s.

Learn More at AskFWC