BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Amid the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian, some of Florida's sea creatures were washed ashore. The Brevard Zoo is now giving some 200 rescued sea turtles a place to call home. They will be rehabilitated and released back into the ocean.
The zoo says the turtles are comprised of species including green, loggerhead, and even a few hawksbill sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Preservation Society brought most of them from the Cape Canaveral area to Brevard Zoo's Sea Turtle Healing Center on Thursday, September 29.
"The group wasn’t unexpected for our team," the zoo said. "Major weather events like hurricanes can waylay baby sea turtles who are in offshore weather-disrupted rafts of sargassum or are making their first swim into the ocean, headed to the offshore patches of seaweed that provide them with shelter and food. Many of the Atlantic coast sea turtle rehabilitation facilities are receiving these small turtles."
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Any injured or ill turtles are being treated by the zoo's veterinary team for care. Healthy turtles get situated in a tank outfitted with special enrichment items and are fed lettuce and a mashed-up mixture of fish, shrimp, and clams.
"Our staff and volunteers will be caring for these turtles until open ocean conditions improve. The baby sea turtles will be transported offshore in a boat and placed back in the weed lines," the zoo said.
If you find a baby sea turtle on the beach, do NOT place them back in the water. Please immediately call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for rescue instructions. If you find distressed, sick, dead or injured sea turtles Brevard County you may contact the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-676-1701.