PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Another batch of cold stunned sea turtles were flown into Panama City Beach this evening.
30 juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are currently being treated by the Gulf World Marine Institute for possible infections or even, flipper frostbite.
Lauren Albrittian, the stranding coordinator for the Gulf World Marine Institute, said this year’s season is off to a busy start after receiving their third batch of cold-stunned sea turtles from the Northeast.
“So that’s why we were willing to take in as many as we could fit so that way we can relieve their space up there so that they can get more into their initial facility,” Albrittian said. “So it’s a high year for this group.”
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are natives to the Gulf and Albrittian said something the turtles get caught in the Gulf Stream which drops them off in the Atlantic ocean.
“They’re following food,” Albrittian said. “That’s really it. So once they follow that food, get up to Cape Cod and if they’re lucky enough, they can swim back down south on their own. If not, they get a free flight.”
Members of the rescue team say the turtles even begin to develop their own personalities after they begin to feel better. Some become a little feistier than others but they say the feistier the better.
“They definitely do start to show their colors a little more some of them will tend to be a little bit feistier whenever we bring them out for examinations which we love seeing because it means they’re feeling great and ready to go,” Albrittian said.
Albrittian said the timeline for release is on a case-by-case basis because each turtle is treated individually for different issues. She said releasing the turtles back into the Gulf is bitter-sweet but it reminds her of the importance of their work.