Cold-stunned sea turtles rescued and released

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM.

“It’s been a really busy week on the Cape,” said Turtle Patrol volunteer Julia Cunningham. “It’s volunteers and the community pulling together that makes this possible.”

Volunteers in Gulf County have been launching kayaks daily from Scallop Cove, Cape San Blas Inn and the kayak launch at Stump hole to look for cold-stunned turtles floating below the surface.

Once the turtles are pulled from the water, they’re wrapped in blankets and transported to GWMI in Panama City to be slowly warmed and assessed for illness.

Only 16 of the 87 turtles rescued were lost, a good ratio, said Secret Holmes-Douglas, Director of Animal Care & Training at GWMI.

On Tuesday, the 57 turtles rescued from around the county were released into the gulf at Cape Palms Park on St. Joseph Peninsula. They were released into the warm waters on the gulf side to avoid the temperatures of the bay.

Prior to release, the turtles were weighed, measured and tagged.

Six of the turtles were Kemp’s Ridley, while the rest were endangered Greens. Five turtles were transported back to Perdido Key area of Gulf Island National Seashore for release and remained in rehabilitation at GWMI due to medical illness or and injuries.

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