After a few days’ reprieve from stormy beach and ocean conditions, nearly 1,500 freshly hatched green and loggerhead sea turtles displaced by hurricanes Irma and Jose have been transferred to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for release. They spent the night at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton and will be placed on offshore mats of seaweed later today (Friday, September 15). Staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to document and care for each turtle.
Volunteers from Brevard Zoo, Barrier Island Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Sea Turtle Preservation Society delivered the hatchlings and “washbacks” (young turtles that were literally washed back after swimming offshore) to the Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center beginning on Monday.
Although the number of troubled turtles found on Florida’s eastern coast has lessened significantly in in recent days, the behavior of Jose and future hurricanes could create another crisis in the coming weeks. Information about what to do if one finds a washback is available at www.brevardzoo.org/washbacks.
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