BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Hundreds of baby sea turtles are finding refuge at the Brevard Zoo after a hurricane caused them to be washed ashore.
A spokesman for the zoo said its Sea Turtle Healing Center is caring for nearly 300 tiny green and loggerhead sea turtles that were pushed ashore after Hurricane Leslie interrupted their habitat, leaving them unable to make the long swim offshore to survive after hatching.
“When sea turtles hatch, they rely on energy stores from a yolk sac to make the multi-mile swim to offshore weed lines—floating masses of Sargassum seaweed that provide shelter and food,” said sea turtle program manager Shanon Gann. “If the seaweed is disrupted by a storm or strong winds that wash them back to shore, the little turtles do not have the energy to make the long swim again.”
Zoo officials released video of the tiny turtles, and they're absolutely adorable. See how they're spending their time at the Healing Center in the video embedded below.
The washbacks will be cared for by staff members until ocean conditions improve, zoo officials said. Once conditions in the water calm, the baby turtles will be taken offshore by boat and placed in weed lines.
Volunteers with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society are transporting the turtles to the Healing Center. Anyone who finds sea turtles that have been washed ashore should call the STPS at 321-676-1701 of Florida Fish and Wildlife officials at 1-888-404-3922.