Report, but do not touch, dead or distressed sea turtles
Friday, January 15, 2010
Media contact: Carli Segelson, 727-896-8626; Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
Amid chilling temperatures during Florida's recent
cold snap, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) responded to reports of thousands of stunned sea turtles
floating listlessly in the water or washing onto shore over the
Cold-stunned turtles may appear to be dead, but
often they are still alive. The FWC urges people to report
distressed or dead turtles to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at
888-404-FWCC (3922) as soon as possible.
The FWC also pointed out it is illegal to possess a
sea turtle or any part of the sea turtle, dead or alive.
"Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered
Species Act," said Robbin Trindell, FWC sea turtle biologist.
"Therefore, it is illegal to disturb them or to possess them."
The FWC, with its partners, worked together to pick
up turtles disabled by the cold and transported them to staging
areas and rehabilitation facilities where they could recover. As
water temperatures rise, officials are releasing the animals back
into the ocean.
"If a sea turtle is seen swimming back out to sea,
it probably will be able to survive without human intervention,"
Trindell said. "But those that are floating or washing ashore
should be reported immediately to the hotline at 888-404-3922."
For additional information about sea turtles or
fish and wildlife research, visit MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.