Officials say cold-stunned sea turtles recovering well

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - 30 cold-stunned sea turtles were delivered to Gulf World Marine Institute from Massachusetts in late November, and now they're on the road to recovery.

The turtles are said to be in good health. (WJHG/WECP)

Of the 30 sea turtles, six have been released, and officials with Gulf World Marine Institute say the remaining turtles are all doing well.

The turtles were initially flown down to take some of the burdens off of marine institutes in the Massachusetts area.

Officials say the turtles have to pass a wide number of tests before they're let back into the Gulf of Mexico. They say they have to be eating and swimming normally, veterinary officials check their weight and overall health, and after all that, the turtles are almost ready to go.

Lauren Albrittain, the Stranding Coordinator for Gulf World Marine Institute said, "Once the veterinary team gives them the clearance and they've been off of all medications for 30 days, we contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they give us the thumbs up, the vet team gives us the thumbs up. Then, we tag them and then as soon as we find a good day to release them we send them back."

Officials say they haven't had any cold-stunned sea turtles in our area just yet, but it is a possibility.

Albrittain added, "The most important thing is if you find a sea turtle washed up on the beach is to not push the animal back. The easiest way is to call star or pound FWC on your cell phone. That will take you straight through to the wildlife dispatch and they'll send us the information and we'll contact you with the next steps."

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