Dozens of people walking along Jacksonville’s beaches have come across baby sea turtles.
Researchers say strong winds and tides in the ocean have brought close to 60 back to shore between Amelia Island and St. Johns County.
“We get calls from these people who say, ‘What should I do? What should I do?’” Eleanor Maxwell said.
Maxwell, a Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol member, brought two turtles to the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience on Friday.
Known as washbacks, the babies are washing ashore on Sargasso seaweed pushed inland by strong storms.
Close to 60 baby sea turtles have been rescued after washing ashore at #Jacksonville area beaches. Coming up on CBS47 at 5:55: What’s causing the wash backs and how a sea turtle hospital in St. Augustine is working to get them back in the ocean where they belong @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/NYYjki4ctD— Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) October 12, 2018
When sea turtles hatch, they rely on energy stores from a yolk sack to make the multi-mile swim to floating masses of seaweed offshore.
If storms or currents push them back to shore, the turtles are too weak to swim back out into ocean.
“They’re going to be picked up by a pelican or they’re going to get into the water and they’re just going to die. They don’t have a chance once they get to this beach,” Maxwell said.
If the babies are rescued, they’re brought to a sea turtle hospital such as UF’s Whitney Lab in St. Augustine.
They’re cared for until they’re strong enough to be brought back out to the ocean by boat.
Researchers are asking people to keep an eye out for the post-hatchlings after the recent storms.
If you find a baby sea turtle, call your sea turtle patrol group or the FWC.
The baby sea turtles can be hard to spot — they blend in with the sea weed they wash ashore on. FWC is asking anyone who comes across one to call their hotline 1-888-404-3922 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/2zUYJtdkI2— Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) October 12, 2018
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