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Brevard Zoo works to save sick sea turtles


Sick sea turtles are washing up on beaches in Central Florida and throughout the state. A pair of pliers is used to remove barnacles from a young sea turtle’s shell. The sick turtles cannot clean their shells and get a buildup of algae, barnacles, shrimp and leeches. Right now, there are too many of them coming into the Brevard Zoo’s rehab center. “We took in three this morning, six yesterday and nine the day before. It’s kind of an all-day event,” Dr. Kyle Donnelly with the Brevard Zoo said.Some of the turtles have obvious injuries, like a loggerhead with a horrifying boat collision wound that took off a flipper. Many of the green turtles, a rarer and more endangered breed, have mysterious illnesses doctors cannot readily identify. They get fluids, antibiotics, food and the best care that volunteers and techs, working overtime, can give. “I would say eight out of ten turtles that we get, they spend a few months with us and we’re able to let them go again,” Donnelly said.Sick turtles do tend to show up more often around this time of year. However, this year there are more than usual. Researchers are working to find out if it’s a widespread disease that threatens the population, or just a short-term phenomenon. The Brevard Zoo accepts donations to help care for the sick sea turtles. Click here to find out how to donate.

Sick sea turtles are washing up on beaches in Central Florida and throughout the state.

A pair of pliers is used to remove barnacles from a young sea turtle’s shell. The sick turtles cannot clean their shells and get a buildup of algae, barnacles, shrimp and leeches.

Right now, there are too many of them coming into the Brevard Zoo’s rehab center.

“We took in three this morning, six yesterday and nine the day before. It’s kind of an all-day event,” Dr. Kyle Donnelly with the Brevard Zoo said.

Some of the turtles have obvious injuries, like a loggerhead with a horrifying boat collision wound that took off a flipper.

Many of the green turtles, a rarer and more endangered breed, have mysterious illnesses doctors cannot readily identify. They get fluids, antibiotics, food and the best care that volunteers and techs, working overtime, can give.

“I would say eight out of ten turtles that we get, they spend a few months with us and we’re able to let them go again,” Donnelly said.

Sick turtles do tend to show up more often around this time of year. However, this year there are more than usual.

Researchers are working to find out if it’s a widespread disease that threatens the population, or just a short-term phenomenon.

The Brevard Zoo accepts donations to help care for the sick sea turtles. Click here to find out how to donate.

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