ST. AUGUSTINE - Cold-stunned turtles are on the mend thanks to efforts at a Marineland facility
"Each one is like an honor to put back in the sea," Marineland Dolphin Adventure curator Daniel Palmer said about the rescued turtles.
Palmer has been working with Green Sea Turtles in particular for about 30 years. He said this winter has been one of the worst he's seen for the species experiencing cold stunning.
"We knew they needed help quickly you don’t want to warm them up too fast, but they needed to be warmed-up we had our veterinarian check them as they came in," Palmer said.
Found in shallow waters south of Mayport all the way to Crescent Beach.
"When the temperature gets below a certain level, their whole metabolic process slows down and can even stop," Palmer said.
They gradually warm them up in different pools. Watching some inside the facility a little closer, then transferring them to a larger pool outside before released them.
"It’s one in a thousand that die in the world of hatchlings, but once they get past a certain size they really should live to become adults," Palmer said.
He added when the cold effectively shuts down the turtle’s immune system, it does not matter the age or size. Palmer calls on the public to also be on the look-out for potentially disoriented or distressed animals when the temperatures dip.
"If we can save these young but not hatchling sized animals, we have the potential to save the whole species," Palmer said.
Scientists have also tagged the Green Turtles that were brought-in, so they can monitor their movements once released.