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Sat, Feb

Scientists, volunteers rescue about 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles

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On the icy cold shores of Florida’s St. Joseph Bay, a team of volunteers and wildlife experts have rescued an estimated 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles since January 2 in what is believed to be Florida’s second-largest mass cold-stunning event of the 21st century, according to U.S. Geological Survey research biologist Margaret Lamont.

 

On the icy cold shores of Florida’s St. Joseph Bay, a team of volunteers and wildlife experts have rescued an estimated 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles since January 2 in what is believed to be Florida’s second-largest mass cold-stunning event of the 21st century, according to U.S. Geological Survey research biologist Margaret Lamont.

Lamont has been coordinating the turtle rescues in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. About 50 people – about 30 volunteers from the Florida Coastal Conservancy, employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Eglin Air Force Base, the Florida FWCC, Gulf World Marine Park, and two more USGS scientists – have taken part in the rescues Jan. 2-7, when about 700 turtles were rescued, and Jan. 17-19, when about 300 more were brought in.

So many cold-stunned turtles have been rescued from the bay’s waters and mud flats that Gulf World, where the turtles are taken to rest and recover, is full and can only take in injured animals, she said. A rented house where Lamont and two scientists conduct their research was full of turtles, inside and outside, on Friday, Jan. 19. 

The vast majority of the turtles rescued were threatened green turtles (Chelonia mydas), but the teams also brought in endangered Kemp's ridleys (Lepidochelys kempii), threatened loggerheads (Caretta caretta) and one endangered hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

 

Continue reading at USGS.

Image via USGS.