Mote Marine helping stranded sea turtles

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 5:32 pm | Updated: 1:12 pm, Wed Jul 31, 2013.

SARASOTA - Mote Marine Lab, a local non-profit organization, is now part of a network trying to help more than 150 sea turtles stranded of the coast of New England.

Hayley Rutger of Mote Marine says they have 3 very special visitors to the Sea Turtle Marine Laboratory. Those visitors are Cindy, Lou, and Stu. They are 3 of the more than 150 sea turtles stranded off the coast of New England.

“They came down to us on a Coast Guard plane, because they had gotten very cold and that cold stunting can cause their bodies shut down and can give them all sort of health issues,” says Rutger.

Officials say the turtles were trying to migrate south for the winter when they got stuck in the cold waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, causing many of them to get hypothermia.

“When that happens, they're immune compromised so the bacteria and the fungal infections can thrive more and so we have to monitor them for a period of time or until water temperatures are suitable and they are medically cleared,” says Lynne Byrd.

Byrd is one of the caregivers nursing the turtles back to health. She says so far the animals have been placed in temperature controlled water tanks and are being observed for any changes to their condition. “We're monitoring there blood work closely and we have them on antibiotic as a preventative right now.”

The work continues to get the sea turtles back to full health, and officials say it could be a few weeks before they will be placed back into the Atlantic Ocean.

The rescued sea turtles are being kept separate from the other animals at the Mote Marine Laboratory and are not available for public viewing.

Officials also ask that those interested in donating to the rescue program visit their website at www.mote.org.

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