SURFERS RESCUE LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE
By Aaron Simonton, Sea Turtle Preservation Society // January 16, 2013
Taken To Sea World For Treatment
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE BEACH, FLORIDA – The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach along Florida’s east coast and is the only refuge designated to protect sea turtles.
Established by Congress in 1989, the refuge is named after the late Dr. Archie Carr, Jr., in honor of his extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation. The refuge was designated to protect habitat for what is the most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Western Hemisphere and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America.
Sea turtles have survived for over 150 million years, however, marine reptiles are threatened by humans who are competing for their natural habitat. This is especially true in Florida, which hosts the highest number of nesting sea turtles in the continental United States.
Recently, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS) received a phone call from a surfer at Spessard Holland Park saying that a sick or injured sea turtle was on the beach.
When STPS receives a call, a trained volunteer authorized by Florida Fish and Wildlife to conduct Stranding and Salvage activities is dispatched.
If the turtle is alive, the Stranding volunteer is authorized to take the turtle to one of Florida’s sea turtle rehabilitation centers.
The Loggerhead stranded at Spessard Holland Park was transported to Sea World where it will be examined, given appropriate medical treatment, and when it is well enough, will be returned to the sea.
There are facilities and trained staff to protect and care for sick or injured sea turtles however, the public serves a vital role as the first line of defense for stranded sea turtles. If you find a sea turtle on the beach that appears to be ill or injured do not return it to the water or try to administer first aid. If it is a hot sunny day, provide shade for the turtle or cover the turtle with a wet towel. Sea turtles are reptiles and need to breathe air to live. Do not place them in a bucket of water.
STPS reaches thousands of people each year through public presentations, exhibits at area events, and by turtle watches during the sea turtle nesting season. The society’s goal is to help maintain the current sea turtle population and to prevent a potentially irreversible decline in that population.
For sea turtle emergencies, call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-676-1701. After business hours, call the STPS numeric pager at 321-455-0576.