Cold snap endangering sea turtles

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

JUNO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The emergency triage center at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach is normally a room where they teach classes, but, now, they need it for saving sea turtles from the cold.

One volunteer says he's never seen it this bad, and the worst isn't over yet. "Nine and a half years that I've been volunteering at this Center, I've never seen this situation in South Florida. This is unprecedented," said Joe Zavertnik.

There are about 400 sea turtles in South Florida, and hundreds more in northern Florida. All in this dire situation: Green sea turtles have no way to warm up in this frigid cold, so they need help in record numbers.

The rescue center can't catch a break. "There's really two types of turtles that are stranding. You have those that are healthy, and those who are just really cold."

Here's what they do when the need help: They float to the surface, and Florida Fish and Wildlife boats are cruising the coast looking for these turtles who just want to warm up.

But if a turtle was sick or injured before the cold snap, the chilly temperatures can be deadly. "To see any turtle not make it makes me sad and makes the staff sad, so hopefully 80 to 90 percent can be rehabilitated and sent back to the wild alive."

With the plastic swimming pools everywhere, they're running out of space and money, and the cold spell isn't over yet.

They've already gone through half of their medical budget for the year, and we're only one week into January.

If you can help them with donations visit their Web site,