FWC tells Gumbo Limbo to stop rehabbing injured sea turtles

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 7:30 PM EDT
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For the second time in a year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has told a facility in Palm Beach County to stop rehabilitating injured sea turtles.

Currently, there are no turtles at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.

John Holloway, the director of the nonprofit that operates Gumbo Limbo, said he expects his facility to be rehabbing turtles as soon as possible, though he wouldn't name a specific date.

He said the nature center's turtle rehabilitation program is in flux because the management of the facility is being transferred from the city of Boca Raton to "Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards," a nonprofit group.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission ordered eight turtles shipped to other facilities after the city laid off the woman who holds the state license to rehab turtles. A month earlier, Gumbo Limbo's resident veterinarian resigned.

But Holloway said the nature center is tackling the staffing issues.

"Now, that will be a matter of hiring the new staff, which we've done," Holloway said. "We'll be announcing that in the next week or so, and then it will be their role to start working on the application process for the organization to have that permit."

Six of the turtles from Gumbo Limbo are now being treated at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.

Meantime, Holloway said Gumbo Limbo is still busy with visitors to the nature center's hiking trails, aquariums and education seminars.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center wasn’t allowed to rehabilitate turtles for months last year after water quality issues.

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