Selasa, 01 Desember 2020

Family finds struggling baby sea turtle on the beach, releases it back into the Gulf - The Northwest Florida Daily News

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GRAYTON BEACH — One local family had an unforgettable experience while watching the sunset recently at Grayton Beach State Park.

Megan Hunt and her family, who live in Florosa, were on a camping trip at the park for the Thanksgiving holiday week when they decided to watch the sunset.

Hunt, who said she was feeling cold, decided not to walk all the way down the boardwalk onto the sand.

Megan Hunt and her family were camping at Grayton Beach State Park when they found a baby loggerhead turtle struggling to get to the Gulf of Mexico. A park ranger allowed them to scoop it up and help it get into the water.

Moments later, Hunt's mother and the kids started yelling, "Sea turtle, sea turtle."

Hunt thought they were joking, but when she realized they weren't she went down to see what all the shouting was about.

A baby loggerhead turtle was scrambling around the dry sand of the beach and was spotted by Hunt's mother. It was alone and had a damaged eye.

Megan Hunt and her family helped the loggerhead hatchling get to the Gulf of Mexico.

"We were going down to see the sunset and totally lucked out," Hunt said.

Hunt was born and raised in the Fort Walton Beach area and is familiar with sea turtles. Her mother used to take her to see female sea turtles hatch their eggs when she was a child. Her grandfather was a marine biologist who taught at Okaloosa Walton Community College (now Northwest Florida State College).

She immediately called the park ranger, who said to let nature take its course, according to Hunt.

More: Sea turtles rehabilitated by Gulfarium's C.A.R.E Center released at Topsail Hill

Related: Six rehabilitated turtles released at Grayton Beach State Park

The family watched for about 30 minutes as the hatchling struggled to get to the Gulf of Mexico.

Dacey Hunt scoops up the loggerhead and carries it to the water.

"It was trying to get back out into the water but it was red flag and (the waves) kept pushing it back in," Hunt said.

The ranger eventually came down to see the turtle and allowed Hunt's 12-year-old daughter, Dacey Hunt, to lift the turtle with sand underneath it and let it go.

"Seeing the turtle was the coolest thing. I've lived here my entire life and never seen anything like that," Megan said.

The ranger told her the turtle had a one-in-a-thousand chance of surviving. The Hunt family has high hopes, though.

"We are thinking that is the one out of a thousand."

Loggerhead turtles are classified as endangered along with the six other species of sea turtle.

Terra Throgmorton, medical and stranding coordinator at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E Center, said seeing hatchlings this late in the year is not totally uncommon.

"It does seem a little bit late, but definitely not out of the ordinary this year," she said.

Throgmorton said another hatchling was reported in the area in the middle of November.

She advised people who find injured sea turtles to notify a ranger like the Hunt family did or call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC.

The Link Lonk


December 02, 2020 at 12:55AM
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Family finds struggling baby sea turtle on the beach, releases it back into the Gulf - The Northwest Florida Daily News

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