Kamis, 11 Maret 2021

More sick sea turtles wash up on First Coast beaches; some now dead - FirstCoastNews.com WTLV-WJXX

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Florida's Atlantic coastline is seeing more turtles that are sick than what is typical for this time of year.

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. — What’s happening to sea turtles locally?

This week, various sea turtle hospitals in Florida have been flooded with sick sea turtles washing ashore.

In St. Augustine Beach, in a 24-hour time span, four sea turtles were reported on the beach, not sick but dead.

Bob Fraser is with the St. Augustine Beach Sea turtle patrol.

He drove in his jeep on the beach, headed to find a sea turtle he'd been alerted to. 

"I received a text message with a picture of a dead turtle," he said. 

In the last week, he and his fellow volunteers have been finding a lot more sick sea turtles than usual for this time of year.

However, Thursday he was going to a dead turtle. 

He spotted something off to the left on the beach.  "That might be it right there. Yeah, that's it. I can smell it."

"These are the ones I don’t like doing," Fraser said as he put on gloves.

The odor from the dead animal was strong.

He walked to a very decomposed carcass on the beach.  The head and flippers were the only identifiable parts of the turtle left. 

Fraser inspected it. "There’s nothing to tell you what the original cause of death was. It’s so decomposed."

While this sea turtle was dead, Fraser has taken several sick ones lately to the UF Sea Turtle hospital in Flagler County. That facility has been inundated with sick turtles in the past week. 

So has the Brevard Zoo, near Cape Canaveral.

Fraser, speaking about the turtle calls he's responded to, "It’s been mostly all sick. Not injured. Sick."

It’s unclear why there are more sick sea turtles than usual for this time of year.

Cat Eastman, the Program Manager at the UF Sea Turtle Hospital said, the ones we’re seeing dead are "the sicker of the sick. The ones that did not have the strength to paddle to shore."

"It makes me sad. I’m a real turtle lover," Ann Kenney said Thursday. She and her husband Howard actually saw the dead sea turtle before Fraser arrived. Like many people, they did not know what to do. 

"We didn’t know who to call," she said. 

Fraser told them, "You can call the state, FWC has a toll-free number." It is 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922). He added, "The easiest thing is the non-emergency number for the sheriff’s office or police."

Once authorities are notified, they will contact the state and folks like Fraser. 

He said typically the state would want to do a necropsy but this one found Thursday was too decomposed. So Fraser took pictures, documented, and buried it.

While shoveling sand, Fraser said, "To have a passion for animals, this is really not how you want it to be."

The Link Lonk


March 12, 2021 at 08:17AM
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More sick sea turtles wash up on First Coast beaches; some now dead - FirstCoastNews.com WTLV-WJXX

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