Biologists: Be on the lookout for stranded sea turtles

St. Augustine

St. Augustine biologists are warning beachgoers to be on the lookout for stranded sea turtles.

Two sea turtles washed ashore in St. Johns County Sunday, in Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beaches.

They were brought to the Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Lab.

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"One animal was chilly and a little debilitated, so we're seeing a lot of animals that didn’t do well all winter start to get washed in with the winds and currents starting to shift," Rachel Thomas said.

Thomas is the hospital manager at the Whitney Lab. She said strandings are common this time of year after cold temperatures.

She said 11 stranded sea turtles have been brought to the St. Augustine lab so far in 2019.

“Those animals are usually skinny, they aren’t feeling very well,” Thomas said. They’re usually pretty lethargic.”

Thomas says beachgoers should be on the lookout for stranded sea turtles from mid-February through March.

She said the best way to help them is to call FWC immediately.

Once at a facility like the Whitney Lab, they’re checked out and taken care of until they’re well again.

“The ultimate goal in all cases is to get them back out there where they’re supposed to be, in the wild,” Thomas said.

If you find a dead, sick, or injured sea turtle, you're asked to call FWC's 24-hour Wildlife Alert Number at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).

You can learn more about the Whitney Lab on their Facebook page.