The frozen turtles rescued near Florida coast last week were found in the Gulf of Mexico and are currently being treated at the Marathon Veterinary Hospital. Some of them were dead, but others were recovered by staff from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Bette Zirkelbach, manager of Turtle Hospital, has stated that the young turtles were discovered in a cold-stunned state in waters of 57 degrees in the Gulf of Mexico. It would appear that winds blowing with twenty mph blew the creatures towards the shore. Only seven of them could be saved.
Marathon Veterinary Hospital staff led by Dr. Raj Joshi checked the new arrivals for both external and internal tumors. According to Zirkelbach, they were expecting ten more turtles to be brought in by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Unfortunately, one turtle died during the night, and was soon followed by another one in the morning.
However, four marine creatures seem to have made good progress as they are eating squid. If upon their examination no internal tumors will be found, the doctors will proceed to removing their external tumors when they will have gathered more strength.
Zirkelbach has stated that full recovery might take up to one or two years, because the turtles are also affected by a herpes virus named fibropapillomatosis. The internal temperatures of sea turtles are dependent on the temperatures of the surrounding waters. Therefore, if they reach cold waters they become lethargic and can even die.
National Weather Service Key West science officer Andy Devanas has stated that last Friday they recorded temperatures of 76 degrees near the Molasses Reef in Key Largo, 63 degrees near Long Key Light and 66 degrees near Key West Harbor. The release locations for the turtles have yet to be chosen.
The manager of Turtle Hospital has also released figures regarding the numbers of turtles housed by the hospital: 65 in 2012, 68 in 2013, 93 in 2014 and an astounding 172 last year. The fact that the numbers are growing can only send a warning about the changes of natural balance in different environments.
The frozen turtles rescued near Florida coast have become quite popular on social media platforms and everybody is waiting for their full recovery and release back into the wild.
Image Source: ZooBorns