The Gulfarium C.A.R.E Center, a 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine animals located on Okaloosa Island recently teamed up with local freediving company Benthic Ocean Sports to successfully release 131 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings. The hatchlings had been displaced by severe weather as a result of Hurricane Ida.
On a cloudy September morning, members of the C.A.R.E. Center and Mike Pooler from Benthic Ocean Sports ventured out on a long offshore boat ride to search for weedlines to release the hatchlings. The hatchlings were being taken care of by the C.A.R.E Center team until the Gulf of Mexico conditions were favorable for their release.
“Giving these hatchlings a second chance at survival is a great feeling,” states Tabitha Siegfried, Stranding Coordinator at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center said in a recent press release. “It is estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood; so being able to get them offshore and into the ideal habitat for their life stage following the storm was so important.”
The Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center promotes rehabilitation and release of all stranded sea turtle species. After the appropriate medical attention and care is provided, as deemed by a veterinarian, the sea turtle is release back into the ocean at a location determined by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). If you see a sea turtle in distress, injured, or deceased please report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).
Follow the C.A.R.E. Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gulfariumcarecenter to learn more about sea turtles and the center’s rehabilitation efforts.