Snowbirds Enjoy Endangered Turtle Release

CAPE SAN BLAS More than 100 endangered sea turtles are back in the Gulf Friday night.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and Gulf World workers and volunteers rescued this second group of turtles last week after freezing weather conditions cold-stunned them.

Officials say they could wind-up rescuing more if we get more cold weather.

Just like the first group rescued in early January, most of these sea turtles, rescued last week, came from St. Joe Bay.

Friday, then got to go back home.

Wildlife Biologist Dr. Allen Foley explains, "People are surprised they live up here year-round, because it does get cold but it's only when water gets down in the 40s."

Gulf World Director Secret Holmes-Douglas says, "A majority of the turtles we have are green sea turtles, we have a few - about ten Kemps Ridley which are more endangered than the green."

Workers marked, numbered, and tagged each turtle before they were released back into the gulf.

The last time Gulf World and Wildlife Officers had to rescue turtles was 2011.

In 2010, they pulled more than 1,700 turtles out of the water after 2 straight weeks of cold temperatures.

Student Lauren Jenkins admits, "I personally love turtles myself so getting to be here and get to do this - I was supposed to be in school now but this, this is like way better than whatever they could teach us."

Wisconsin Snowbird Carol Seegers says, "[I've] never seen anything like this. It is so exciting to see these turtles come down. I've never seen the big turtles, other than in a museum somewhere."

Nevada Snowbird Robert Cox agrees, saying, "[I] never have. One of the desires of my life is fulfilled."

Officials say several of the turtles rescued last week were also rescued in 2010 and 2011.


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