BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Many sea turtles in need of medical treatment arrived in the local area from the New England Aquarium facility in Quincy, MA.
30 cold stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were flown out to be transported to Gulf World Marine Institute for rehabilitation. During cold snaps sea turtles can become shocked when temperatures in shallow bays drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the coming weeks the animals will be treated until they are deemed releasable by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and National Marine Fisheries Service. Gulf World Marine Institute explained that after a quick check upon arrival the healing process for the turtles will begin.
“Basically we just do a brief comfort check, make sure everybody is ok and then we will continue their full examinations. They’ll have access to regular veterinary care. If they need antibiotics they’ll receive those, if they need fluids regularly they’ll get those, so anything that they need to get them back into the Gulf of Mexico as quickly as possible,” said Lauren Albrittain, Gulf World Marine Institute stranding coordinator.
The entire process is an effort that spans multiple states across the country and involves various organizations.
“What happens in the Massachusetts area at this time is they actually get an influx of a lot of very sick turtles. By sending them to various facilities throughout the rest of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts they make new room for more patients to come in on their end, so we are not the only facility that takes them,” emphasized Albrittain.
Albrittain also noted that the recovery time depends on the individual turtle and that it can take anywhere from weeks to months to completely rid of their disease before being released.