Our Sea Turtle Healing Center is at it again! Staff and volunteers are caring for nearly 300 green and loggerhead sea turtle “washbacks” that were pushed ashore when Hurricane Leslie disrupted their habitat. The tiny animals were transported to the Healing Center by Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS) volunteers.
Washbacks are baby sea turtles that have washed up on beaches. Though sea turtles hatch with a yolk that gives them the burst of energy needed to make the multi-mile swim to the weed lines (offshore patches of seaweed that provide shelter and food), once they’ve washed up on shore, they can’t get back out on their own.
Our staff and volunteers are caring for these washbacks for a few days until open ocean conditions improve. At that time, the baby sea turtles will be transported offshore in a boat and placed back in the weed lines, which provide them with shelter and food.
If you find a washback on the beach, immediately call STPS at 321-676-1701 or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for rescue instructions.
After a few days in our care, most of the washbacks were returned to sea! Sea Turtle Preservation Society arranged transportation for the washbacks to Palm Beach County, where 293 turtles were taken back to the Sargassum seaweed closer to the Bahamas. A few washbacks arrived after pickup, and will make their journeys to sea in the coming days.