According to the latest news, seven young sea turtles rescued from frigid waters off Florida coast are being rehabilitated at a special hospital, as we speak.
The Miami Herald reports that the turtles were ‘cold-stunned’ after being found in 57-degree water in the Gulf of Mexico and were recovered by staff at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, according to Turtle Hospital Manager Bette Zirkelbach. She stated that 20 mph winds blew the turtles inland. Some were found alive, like the seven brought to the hospital, but others were found dead.
Dr. Raj Joshi from the Marathon Veterinary Hospital and other staff at the Turtle Hospital gave the turtles thorough checkups after they arrived, checking for internal and external tumors. Zirkelbach expected the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to bring about 10 more to the Turtle Hospital Friday night from the same area in Clearwater.
Bette Zirkelbach also declared that one turtle died through the night Thursday and another one passed away in the morning. Four of the of the sick turtles are already eating squid in their hospital tanks. If the doctors will find that they are tumor free on the inside, then they will undergo surgeries to remove the external tumors when they are strong enough.
Sea turtles’ internal temperatures are dependent upon the temperature of their environment. If the water they swim in or the land is too cold, they can become lethargic, even die. According to Zirkelbach, full recovery could take a year to two years depending on the severity of the turtles’ fibropapillomatosis, a debilitating herpes virus that is specific to sea turtles.
Release locations for the turtles will be determined after they recover.
According to Andy Devanas, science officer at the Key West National Weather Service, waters temperatures Friday were 66 degrees at Key West Harbor, 63 degrees at Long Key Light and 76 degrees at Molasses Reef in Key Largo. Zirkelbach stated that 172 sea turtles were admitted to the Turtle Hospital last year. That was up from 93 sea turtles in 2014, 68 in 2013 and 65 in 2012.
All in all, after hearing about the tragedy of the ‘cold-stunned’ turtles, everybody has high hopes for them to recover. On social media networks, people are very responsive to the case. Cindy Araya, a woman impressed by the story, posted on her Facebook account: ‘Poor babies! I hope they make a full recovery!’.