Brevard Zoo caring for 39 sea turtles after habitat 'disrupted'

The Brevard Zoo's Sea Turtle Healing Center is caring for 39 green and loggerhead sea turtle "washbacks" that were pushed to shore from the ocean after their habitat was disrupted by heavy waves.

“These washbacks came to us from up and down the Brevard County coastline this past week,” said sea turtle program manager Shanon Gann. “Our staff and volunteers diligently cared for these little patients, who have been sent to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. They will be transported via boat back to the weed lines today.”

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According to the zoo, when sea turtles hatch, they rely on energy stored from their yolk sac to be able to swim several miles to offshore weed lines, which is where they find shelter and food. If the seaweed is disturbed by strong winds or a storm, the turtles could be washed back to shore and lose the energy that's required to make the long swim again.

The zoo says anyone who find washbacks should immediately call STPS at 321-676-1701 or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for rescue instructions.