Update: A total of 153 washbacks were released offshore on Sunday, November 15.
Everyone in Brevard County is feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Eta, including the sea turtles that live off our coast. Since yesterday, our Sea Turtle Healing Center has taken in 30 washbacks—young sea turtles that have literally “washed back” after beginning their journey in the ocean. We are providing them with the rest, nutritional support and medical care they need until they can be returned to the offshore Sargassum line where they need to spend this stage of their life cycle.
If you find a sea turtle in need, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC or Sea Turtle Preservation Society (in Brevard County only) at 321-206-0646 for instructions. Be prepared to tell the operator your exact location, the closest access point, the approximate size of the animal and whether it has any artificial markings.
Remember that sea turtles of all sizes are federally protected, and it is illegal to touch them. Though you may think you’re doing a good deed by returning washbacks to the water, these fragile little reptiles will not make it far because they lack the energy to make the miles-long return to the Sargassum line.
Stay off the beach during extreme weather and wave action, and heed all posted regulations. We appreciate your assistance in protecting these treasured creatures, but your own safety should always come first.
The Zoo is a not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government support for operational expenses. If you’d like to help these sea turtles, click here to make a contribution.