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Find a sea turtle ashore after Dorian? Here's what to do

'Let nature run its course,' expert says

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – If you're thinking about picking up a wash-back sea turtle hatch-ling on the beach after hurricane Dorian, think again.

Sea turtles stranded ashore following a major storm can be too exhausted or injured to simply be thrown back into the ocean, and that's why the Sea Turtle Preservation Society says to leave them be and call their hotline at 321-206-0646, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

“Leave the turtles alone, generally speaking,” said the society's chairperson Roger Pszonowsky, adding that beyond calling the hotline Brevardians should just “let nature run its course”.

[RELATED: Baby sea turtle named 'Dorian' rescued by Flagler Beach Fire RescueWoman rescues baby sea turtle off Indialantic Beach in wake of Hurricane Dorian]

“It can take a while on the hotline number because we are all volunteers,” he adds, urging residents to just leave a message and move on if they encounter a stranded turtle right after the storm.

Society volunteers, and officials are equipped to handle any rescues and deliver them to the appropriate care facilities, such as the Brevard Zoo. 

Ahead of Dorian, the society shared the following points with Florida Today:

  • Be safe. Do not be on the beach during the storm or if there is extreme wave action. Please comply with all mandatory beach closures. 
  • Storms have an impact on sea turtles, but did you know each nesting female turtle deposits several nests throughout the duration of the nesting season - essentially “hedging her bets” to make sure that even if a storm hits at some point during the nesting season eggs will probably hatch?  This means there is a high probability that at least a few of her nests will incubate successfully without being impacted by a storm. No storm season is a total loss for sea turtles.  Even in years when Florida sustained direct hits from multiple storms, hatching and emergence success rates were still well within the normal range.
  • To the public and volunteers, we do not encourage you to salvage eggs, dig up nests, or search the wrack line for hatchlings/posthatchlings. Please do not touch eggs, nests, or hatchlings. If you see something that is an issue, please contact us.  
  • Hatchlings are a food source for other beach and ocean creature and we must respect that.
  • As a reminder, the hotline number is 321-206-0646.

    [MORE: Here's how to protect eggs during Florida's sea turtle nesting season]

    The organization also noted that "we need to help turtles through other mechanisms that will actually affect a change and contribute to the preservation and protection of the populations: skip the straw, reduce single use plastic, and educate others."