FWC rescues displaced leatherback from Intracoastal in Martin Co.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
Officers and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) rescued a displaced adult female
leatherback sea turtle from the Intracoastal Waterway off Hobe
Sound Friday afternoon.
"The sea turtle was behaving unusually, so FWC staff determined
a rescue was necessary," said FWC biologist Meghan Koperski.
After receiving a report from a citizen, FWC officers located
the turtle, and staff evaluated its behavior as it swam back and
forth from shore to shore. Biologists used a net to capture the
turtle and bring it on board the rescue boat.
The turtle was then carried out past Jupiter Inlet and released
Named for its soft, rubbery shell, the leatherback sea turtle is
the largest sea turtle. Adults typically weigh between 700 and
1,000 pounds and reach 4 to 8 feet in length. The leatherback
turtle is an endangered species.
It is unusual for leatherback sea turtles to be found in inshore
water, as they are an offshore species. FWC biologists believe this
particular leatherback may have been a nesting female that became
trapped in the Intracoastal after going through the Jupiter Inlet.
In Florida, leatherbacks nest almost exclusively on the east coast.
In fact, most leatherback nesting occurs in Palm Beach and Martin
To report a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle, call the FWC's
Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC. The FWC's website contains
information about sea turtles and information on sea turtle
research and nesting data.