Crew members from the Coast Guard Station in Fort Lauderdale released more than 200 sea turtles into the ocean last week.
The turtles, which included Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill species, had been rescued during nesting season and treated at various hospitals along Florida's east coast.
"Since the pandemic, we've had a hard time finding volunteers to assist us with sea turtle releases," said Whitney Crowder, the sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator with Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. "But the Coast Guard hasn't said no yet."
In a press release, Crowder explained that the turtles had been blown back to shore during nesting season, which is usually a sign that something is wrong with the animal.
"Many of these turtles do not make it due to various obstacles they need to overcome, which is why sea turtles have such large nests," Crowder said. "We are giving them a better chance to become an adult by releasing them offshore and as close to the Gulf Stream and their habitat, as possible."
Lt. Raymond Milne, commanding officer of Station Fort Lauderdale, said that "The crew especially enjoys the living marine resource mission and finds these releases help balance the rigors of their everyday routine."
If you ever encounter a sea turtle in the wild, the Florida Wildlife Commission recommends that you give them space and call for help if you think the turtle is injured before handling it yourself. The FWC’s wildlife hotline is 1-888-404-FWCC.