35 turtles undergo surgery at Gumbo Limbo

BOCA RATON -- Almost three dozen green sea turtles will undergo surgery today at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

The 35 turtles are being treated for fibropapilloma tumors by a team of 10 surgeons and seven assistants from, among others, the University of Florida and Disney. Disney is also sending a mobile surgical unit, too.

The affected turtles are part of the 4,000 green turtles that were cold-stunned in the recent cold snap.

The small, 8-bed sea turtle rehab center at Gumbo Limbo has already treated 170 turtles -- that's more than the group expected in five years.

The tumors are caused by a virus potentially related to agricultural runoff in areas such as the Indian River Lagoon.  The cold is believed to have aggravated this infection.

Researchers will take tissue and blood samples for study.